Back in March, as some of our more frequent readers know, we talked about the National Roadside Survey. Funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the project is supposed to give the government a more accurate snapshot of impaired driving in the United States. But as our readers saw in the March post, the survey is doing something else as well.
As was pointed out by a civil case out of Pennsylvania, the survey can appear to violate a person's Fourth Amendment rights depending on how it is conducted. For those here in Washington who have not heard about the survey, the main issue with it is that many participants do not realize that it is voluntary, especially in instances where a uniformed officer is present or is stopping vehicles.
So far, the possible legal issues raised by the survey have been mostly inconsequential to motorists here in Washington because the survey was not being conducted here. But that will change now that June is upon us.
According to King 5 News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is coming to King County as well as to Kitsap, Snohomish, Spokane and Yakima Counties this month. Although Jonna VanDyk, a project manager with the state's Traffic Safety Commission, stresses that the survey is voluntary, it was pointed out by King 5 News that “a police officer will be at each research station and prepared to make DUI arrests.”
Because of our state's implied consent laws, it may be difficult for our readers to know exactly what rights they have during the survey. They might not even be able to recognize when these rights are being violated either. And if a DUI arrest is made, they might not know that they could have a case with the right defense on their side. Hopefully by bringing this up in this week's posts, our readers may have a better idea of what they will do if they have concerns about the survey down the road.
Source: King5.com, “New roadside drug, alcohol survey could include you,” Jake Whittenberg, June 5, 2014