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Minnesota Pilots Oral Fluid Drug Tests for Impaired Driving

Minnesota Pilots Oral Fluid Drug Tests for Impaired Driving


Minnesota is set to launch a pilot project involving oral fluid tests to detect drug use among drivers suspected of driving while impaired. The tests will be voluntary and will be conducted by law enforcement officers much like preliminary breath tests for alcohol. The tests can detect six classes of drugs, including THC, cocaine, opioids, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and benzodiazepines. The first testing device to be used is the SoToxa oral fluid mobile analyzer, which claims to provide results within five minutes.

The pilot project, expected to last about a year, will not result in any immediate legal consequences for drivers who test positive. The results will not be admissible in court and cannot be used as probable cause for an arrest. The data collected from the tests will be used to inform lawmakers about the need for additional testing and a law change that allows the test results to be used as evidence.

Law enforcement in other states, such as Michigan, have already piloted similar tests, with data showing that 24 percent of positive tests would not have been detected through traditional drug tests. However, the accuracy of these tests has been questioned, as they may provide different results compared to blood or urine tests.

Drug-related impaired driving has been on the rise in Minnesota in recent years, and the state has yet to track data for cannabis-related offenses since its legalization for adults 21 and older in August. The implementation of these oral fluid tests could help law enforcement better understand the extent of the problem and take appropriate action to reduce drug-related impaired driving.

The introduction of oral fluid tests in Minnesota marks a significant step in the state's efforts to combat drug-related impaired driving. While the results of the pilot project will not have immediate legal consequences, they will provide valuable data to inform future policy decisions and potentially lead to a more effective approach to addressing this issue.


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