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NBC: North Texas Drivers Stopped at Roadblock Asked for Saliva, Blood


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North Texas Drivers Stopped at Roadblock Asked for Saliva, Blood

 

Some drivers along a busy Fort Worth street on Friday were stopped at a police roadblock and directed into a parking lot, where they were asked by federal contractors for samples of their breath, saliva and even blood.

 

It was part of a government research study aimed at determining the number of drunken or drug-impaired drivers.

 

"It just doesn't seem right that you can be forced off the road when you're not doing anything wrong," said Kim Cope, who said she was on her lunch break when she was forced to pull over at the roadblock on Beach Street in North Fort Worth.

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is spending $7.9 million on the survey over three years, said participation was "100 percent voluntary" and anonymous.

 

But Cope said it didn't feel voluntary to her -- despite signs saying it was.

 

"I gestured to the guy in front that I just wanted to go straight, but he wouldn't let me and forced me into a parking spot," she said.

 

Once parked, she couldn't believe what she was asked next.

 

"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.

 

Fort Worth police earlier said they could not immediately find any record of officer involvement but police spokesman Sgt. Kelly Peel said Tuesday that the department's Traffic Division coordinated with the NHTSA on the use of off-duty officers after the agency asked for help with the survey.

 

"We are reviewing the actions of all police personnel involved to ensure that FWPD policies and procedures were followed," he said. "We apologize if any of our drivers and citizens were offended or inconvenienced by the NHTSA National Roadside Survey."

 

NBC DFW confirmed that the survey was done by a government contractor, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which is based in Calverton, Md.

 

A company spokeswoman referred questions to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

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If it's made clear that it's voluntary, how random a sample is it ... how many alcohol and drug users will submit to the test. Yeah anonymity. Or will you get a higher proportion of drug users who want the money for their next fix.  :D

 

If it's not made absolutely clear that it's voluntary then it belongs in the thread with the dude who got multiple rectal exams, etc.

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Didn't realize you'd put it in another thread Larry.

 

Anyway, the thing that gets me is how they are able to divert traffic.  I can see how that would make people feel like it was some kind of thing like the police roadblocks looking for drunk drivers.

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Didn't realize you'd put it in another thread Larry.

Anyway, the thing that gets me is how they are able to divert traffic. I can see how that would make people feel like it was some kind of thing like the police roadblocks looking for drunk drivers.

If they forced me off the road , I would have asked to see a police badge or DOT approved temporary traffic control certification.

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Got to remember this is Texas justice.  They herd cattle and sheep.

 

This has got law suit written all over it and feels like a terrible violation.  Even if the samples were voluntary, if the description is accurate, then the way they were forced into parking lots and treated make it pretty problematic.

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I wish I was there. Ten bucks for a cotton swab to the cheek, and $50 for some blood, which I assume would be a pinprick to the finger?  Sign me up.

 

 

As to the soundness of the research methodology, it seems obvious that those who might have drugs or alcohol in their system might be much more inclined to opt out of this voluntary program, thus skewing results. 

 

But for 60 bucks, I'm spittin' and bleedin'.

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