Sometimes the chair I sit in can be a very disturbing place.

I had been doing some research yesterday for an article I am working on when I came across several articles regarding roadside "surveys" in Texas where they were taking blood samples, mouth swabs and using passive breathalyzer machines on randomly selected drivers.  

Upon further reading and investigation, I read about 2 Alabama counties that had also run the roadside surveys back in June.  In the back of my mind I thought - no way, this has to be a hoax, I ran the information through  and no fraudulent articles came up so I thought maybe I am not asking to search the right terms.

I posted two of the articles on Facebook and asked for people's opinions and was told by a friend from Texas that yes, in fact these roadside surveys had been conducted in Fort Worth.  I went to bed last night feeling disturbed. How could this kind of thing be going on in the USA and there be no real public outcry or anger at civil liberties being abused? 

Google search: 
Oral Swabs and blood tests NHTSA 
Oral Swabs and blood tests NHTSA Fort Worth
Oral swabs and blood tests NHTSA Alabama

for yourself and read the multitude of articles that come up.

I started my morning reading emails, running through the news feeds and doing research with my morning coffee in hand and as I came across a 2007 report from PIRE, my coffee ended up all over my computer screen and keyboard.

What caused me to spit my coffee out in absolute bewilderment and disgust?   

Pilot Test of New Roadside Survey Methodology for Impaired Driving

Lacey, John H.Kelley-Baker, TaraFurr-Holden, DebraBrainard, Katharine; and Moore, Christine 

Report   (2007)

This study developed and tested procedures to enhance roadside survey procedures to include collecting and analyzing oral fluid and blood samples from the nighttime weekend driving population. Roadside surveys involve collecting information from a random sample of drivers. In the past, they have been used to measure the extent of alcohol use in the nighttime driving population in order to establish regular measures of that activity, which is a measure of progress in reducing impaired driving. This study developed and tested techniques to extend the scope of that measurement to drugs other than alcohol. Breath and oral fluid samples were successfully collected from over 600 drivers at 6 locations across the United States. Blood samples were obtained from approximately half of those subjects. Laboratory analyses for alcohol and other drugs were conducted on the oral fluid and blood samples. Procedures and results are described in this report. The findings indicate that this form of expanded roadside survey is practicable in the United States. The intent of this Pilot Test was to develop and test procedures that would be used in the next full-scale national roadside survey. It was not designed to yield a nationally-representative sample of the nighttime weekend driving population; thus the results are not representative of the United States as a whole.

The news that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US had in fact contracted PIRE to do a PILOT  Study on "Voluntary" Roadside Surveys made what was reported out of Texas in the last few days and Alabama back in June to be highly believable. 

If you'd like to read the 2007 Survey you can find it here:

What people in the two states, Texas and Alabama, reported is similar to the information reflected in the 2007 report: off duty police officers work with PIRE to take blood samples, mouth swabs and use passive breathalyzer machines to collect data on drug and or alcohol impairment and what drugs drivers may be using.

What stuns me beyond belief is how many Americans gave up their rights and freedoms for a reward of approximately $65.  
I guess that is the price of freedom in the United States these days.

Just to confirm the information I have read, the news articles out of Texas and Alabama that I came across, and the 2007 report on the pilot test I found, I did Email the NHTSA and asked questions regarding the recently reported roadside "surveys". 

I'll let you know if I get any answer, but with the time and distance between the survey stops that have been conducted so far and the fact that there is no confirmation on a currently running program on either the NHTSA or the PIRE web sites I highly doubt that this organization will come across with any information. What I did learn through the various articles I read is that some 30 cities are to be targeted this time and the program is costing some 7.9 million dollars. 

In doing further research I came across some connections to MADD that had me my eyebrow raised:

MADD in the US is partnered with PIRE as a sponsor and Kathryn Stewart - a sociologist and PIRE team member is on the board of directors for MADD.

In Canada MADD is attempting to push legislation via a private members bill introduced by the NDP's Tarik Brahmi, that would lead Canada down the same slippery slope the US appears to be on.

If you want your voice heard on this topic here in Canada, write to the good people below:

Canadian Constitution Foundation
Chris Schafer
1830 – 52 Street SE
Suite 240
Calgary, AB T2B 1N1
Phone: 1.888.695.9105x. 101

Tarik Brahmi - NDP
Saint-Jean Member of Parliament
Constituency Office:
315 Macdonald Street, Suite 117
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Qu├ębec J3B 8J3
Telephone: 450-357-9100
Fax: 450-357-9109

Parliament Hill Office:
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-992-5296
Fax: 613-992-9849

MADD Canada
Angeliki Souranis
2010 Winston Park Drive, Suite 500
Oakville, Ontario L6H 5R7
Phone: 905-829-8805 or Toll Free: 1-800-665-6233
Fax: 905-829-8860

And then sign and share our petition to Remove Police Chief John Hagarty - discrimination of our community and the stripping of people's rights and freedoms needs to be curbed and only a united community will see that happen.

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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