Carol Stream police say a new test will be “a game-changer” in keeping drug-impaired drivers off the roads.
The tests will use mouth swabs to test for several drugs, including marijuana and heroin, according to the Chicago Tribune. Police are trained to look for physical signs of impairment, but so far can test only for alcohol with numerical certainty.
The test Carol Stream plans to test, called P.I.A.2, gives measurements for the amount of drugs present, and can be conducted on the scene.
“If it’s going to be like a breath test, that’s a game-changer,” Sgt. Brian Cluever, of Carol Stream, said. “If we can make our roads safer, we want to do that.”
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But a defense attorney, Don Ramsell, said the test is a long way from being considered valid and accurate.
“They might just as well hand somebody a bag of nachos and see if he eats it,” said Ramsell, who specializes in driving under the influence law. “That’s just as valid.”
Illinois law already allows police to seek a blood, urine or breath sample if they suspect a driver is impaired, and a driver can face a one-year license suspension for refusing, but that can be a time-consuming process that often requires a trip to the hospital.