If you've been paying attention to the news in the last few months then you're probably aware of the controversy surrounding the National Roadside Survey. Designed as a way to better gauge the actual number of impaired drivers on American roadways, the survey is instead raising red flags in many states where residents feel that their Fourth Amendment rights are being violated by the survey.
For those who are not familiar with the execution of the survey, motorists are stopped at random, sometimes by a uniformed police officer, and directed to a parking lot. While there, motorists are asked a series of questions regarding their drinking and driving habits then asked to take a breath test. Those who wish to provide further information and a saliva or blood sample are compensated with money then allowed to leave. Anyone who is found to be intoxicated is either put up in a hotel or driven home.
But even though federal officials insist that the survey is anonymous and completely voluntary, this has not been the general feeling among many of those who have taken the survey. Some feel this is because there is no particular standard for which the survey is conducted. This lack of standard, and differing DUI laws in each state, is now forcing the U.S. House Committee to take a second look at the survey.
There is a fine line that this survey must straddle between collecting data about drunk driving and abiding by the law. As pointed out by one state politician, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who is currently conducting the survey, needs to make sure that they too are abiding by the law and not violating a person's constitutional right.
Source: The Associated Press, “US House Committee Looking Into Roadside Survey,” Michael Rubinjam, Mar. 6, 2014