NHTSA survey raises concerns over drivers' rights

If you saw what seems like an officer waving you down to pull over, would you pull over? If you are like many drivers, you would, perhaps out of worry about what might happen if you ignored the signal. What if you knew it was for the sake of a voluntary drugged and drunk driving survey?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for a traffic safety survey that reportedly reflects trends about drivers' drug and alcohol use based on blood, breath and saliva tests. According to the government, driver information, even if it comes out as incriminating, won't be used against drivers in the form of DUI arrests.

Given the above information, would you volunteer for the NHTSA's tests? Debate among critics, including the ACLU, suggests that the matter is not so simple.

The survey sounds innocent enough, though it has still ignited controversy across the U.S. Critics of the anti-driving under the influence project point to recent violations of privacy by the government as reason to distrust this effort. How can anyone be confident that information will be kept private or that the feds will keep their word about not making a DUI or drug-related arrest?

People like to believe that law enforcement and the government in general is on their side. That can be a dangerous assumption in any situation involving possible incriminating evidence and criminal charges. A criminal defense lawyer is someone who can be trusted to be on someone's side and have his or her best interests in mind.

Source: USA Today, "Voluntary government checkpoints spark backlash," Larry Copeland, Jan. 7, 2014

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