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The use of saliva testing is proposed as a way for New York State Police to determine if a driver has recently used cannabis or other drugs.

Sen. John Mannion, D-Syracuse, introduced S.9224 to the state Senate to allow police to test anyone involved in an accident or driving in violation of state law to undergo an oral fluid test . The police would then be authorized to ask a person to submit to a chemical test if the saliva test revealed the presence of cannabis in a person’s saliva.

“In New York, 40% of fatal and bodily accidents in 2020 were drug-related”, Mannion wrote in his legislative rationale. “With the legalization of cannabis use by adults and the continuing problems associated with ‘synthetic drugs’, New York’s laws regarding driving under the influence of drugs must be updated to ensure public safety on the roads. New York is just one of the few states that requires a drug to be listed in law to trigger an impaired driving offense.The list does not keep pace with the proliferation of rapidly evolving synthetic drugs. The result is that impaired drivers are allowed to endanger themselves and others with impunity.

According to the National Conference of State Legislative Assemblies, oral fluid collection devices can be administered at the roadside as a screening test to confirm any suspicion of drug use after law enforcement has conducted a blood test. normalized sobriety in the field. The results help obtain a search warrant to collect blood or oral fluid for a lab test that would provide evidence for the trial.

As of May 2021, 24 states had books laws authorizing forms of use of oral fluid samples in impaired driving cases.

Most states do not collect oral fluid, but instead use labs to collect samples. Two states have ongoing roadside oral fluid screening programs. Alabama uses its program to test for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids and benzodiazepines while Indiana uses its program to build probable cause to bring in a drug recognition expert.

Mannion said S.9224 would update New York law regarding field testing for impaired driving to include the use of oral/bodily fluids to help law enforcement properly identify drunk drivers. He said oral fluid testing has been the subject of dozens of studies and pilot programs over more than a decade, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released an assessment of drug testing technology in oral fluids on site in April 2021 and identified methods that meet established accuracy. and sensitivity standards.

Mannion’s proposal also requires drivers to submit to a field test when requested by a police officer and makes it a traffic offense for violating one of the vehicle and traffic laws of the State. The bill also expands the number of times a court can order a chemical test in an alleged drunk driving or drug crash. State law currently only allows a judge to require a chemical test in crashes where someone is killed or someone is seriously injured. Mannion wants to expand chemical testing requirements to cases where someone leaves the scene of an accident, any accident involving bodily injury, and cases involving someone with a history of impaired driving.

Finally, Mannion suggests suspending a driver’s license while an impaired driving charge is pursued if the charges are supported by tests or a confession from the driver.

“The provision reflects updates made by the bill to definitions of driving under the influence of drugs,” Mannion wrote. “This is done to keep dangerous drivers off the road pending prosecution.”

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