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Pilot study in Dane County means roadside testing for drugged drivers

Driving under the influence has been a growing concern across America. Recent national trends have shown that there has been a decline in drunk driving, however, drugged driving has increased. Of fatally injured drivers, 40% test positive for drugs — which is nearly the same as the drivers that tested positive for alcohol. New drugs come out every year, and many of them can drastically impair your ability to drive. Although several drugs are illegal, there are also prescription and over-the-counter medications that can influence your driving capabilities.

Dane County, Wisconsin

Detecting drugged drivers has been an ongoing challenge across the nation. The Marinette Police Department in Dane County has been using a Draeger Drug Test 5000 machine for oral fluid testing since 2013. In March 2016, they began a pilot study using the Alere DDS2 Mobile Test System which is able to test for the six major drug classes and can clearly identify a negative or positive result. The purpose of the pilot study is to identify whether the new device would provide accurate drug detection that would justify an arrest. The pilot study will soon be entering into the second phase where chemists will work to compare the results from the new device with other test samples.

Law Enforcement Feedback

Officers have found the new device to be convenient and effective. Sgt. Richard Alsaker from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office reported that some of the officers wanted to know when the devices would be deployed for field use. Before they could be deployed, the study would need to be completed and certain legislative changes would need to happen.

Want to know more? View the Wisconsin Traffic Safety Reporter for more information about the study.