The state of Washington is launching a statewide roadside survey to allow motorists to volunteer for blood and breath tests. The campaign is intended to provide answers regarding the number of motorists who drive intoxicated or impaired on public roadways.
The new survey is being conducted by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In six counties across the state, researchers will be waving signs to attract drivers, who may then pull over and volunteer to take part in the survey.
Motorists who volunteer will be asked various questions about drug and alcohol use, and may also provide a blood, saliva, or breath sample. The project is designed to find information about how many drivers are impaired at any given moment on public roads. Drivers who participate may receive a $60 stipend for roughly 20 minutes of their time. The project – which began this past weekend – will last throughout the month of June in Yakima, Spokane, King, Snohomish, and Kitsap Counties.
The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation conducted a similar survey in 2012 in California. According to the results of this study, 14% of drivers surveyed tested positive for drugs – with half of them testing positive for marijuana. One percent of drivers had a BAC level over the .08% legal limit. The survey in Washington is also expected to provide further insight about driver behaviors after the legalization of marijuana. Researches stress that the project is entirely voluntary and not about enforcement.
Lawmakers and law enforcement agencies base much of their decisions on research, which is why this new survey may mean big things throughout the state. Regardless of what the project may unveil, it remains a fact that motorists who drive under the influence of either alcohol or drugs can face serious charges and penalties if arrested.
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