If you live in one of 30 cities, you may find yourself pulled over soon at roadblocks where police and federal contractors ask to swab your cheeks, take your blood or give a breath sample to see if you're on drugs without any probable cause that you've committed a crime. Such an exciting time for your civil liberties!
NBC DFW has the scoop on a Fort Worth woman who was pulled over last week at a police roadblock, directed to a parking lot, and then asked for a couple of her bodily fluids in exchange for cash.
She wasn't under arrest, nor was she suspected of a crime — she was merely being asked to participate in a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that supposedly aims to analyze how many drivers on the road are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"They were asking for cheek swabs," she said. "They would give $10 for that. Also, if you let them take your blood, they would pay you $50 for that."
At the very least, she said, they wanted to test her breath for alcohol. She said she felt trapped.
"I finally did the Breathalyzer test just because I thought that would be the easiest way to leave," she said, adding she received no money.
The TV station looked into the roadblock and determined it's part of an $8 million federal initiative in 30 cities coordinated with local police. A civil liberties attorney the TV station interviewed questioned the constitutionality of such stops, and noted the fine print on forms given to drivers says their breath is automatically being tested for alcohol.
Now, we all agree that there needs to be fewer impaired drivers on the road for our own safety. But I don't think that such an invasive and oppressive survey is a good way to get data for anything, especially considering how many drivers will simply turn down the request to hand over blood or saliva.
Check out the full story with video over at NBC DFW. NHTSA says the study will be going on for three more years, so I guess may have to expect running into one of these in the future.