The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants your blood. They have been tasked to use federal funding to check on the use of alcohol and drug use by drivers on the road, and are working in 30 different cities to set up checkpoints with the help of local law enforcement.
Of course, they “say” the “survey” is completely anonymous and optional, and they will pay you between $10 and $50 for the “data.” Now, if the NHTSA wants to set up in a parking lot and have signs posted offering cash for blood samples and such, I think that’s totally stupid but acceptable. Where the NHTSA goes over the line is by utilizing the resources of local law enforcement to set up cones in the street with cops directing you to pull over. That’s intimidation.
If anyone gets into one of these traps, my suggestion would be to ask the simple question “am I being detained,” and if they say no, say thank you and tell them you’ll be leaving now. Take or leave that advice, with the understanding I’m not a lawyer.
When you do as directed and end up lined up in a parking lot, can you leave? If you drive off, you know there are cops all over the place. Will you be chased down or followed and pulled over? This is the intimidation factor. I saw news about this checkpoint in Texas a few days ago, and here’s the story from Fox News.
Fort Worth police set up checkpoints on city streets, and ordered random motorists off the road as part of a nationwide federal survey of alcohol- and drug-impaired driving last week, according to The Star-Telegram. The drivers were asked to pull into a parking lot, where they could give a cheek swab and volunteer for a blood or breath test. Those who agreed were paid $10 to $50. Those who declined were briefly interviewed and allowed to leave.
Some drivers complained of feeling strong-armed into participating…
When you involve a bunch of cops in uniforms with flashing lights and a bunch of cop cars … that’s certainly a bit intimidating. The Fort Worth police chief apologized yesterday and said the department would not be involved with future “surveys.” What was the experience like?
Carl Olund, one driver who was pulled over in Fort Worth, told NBCDFW.com he felt pressured to provide samples of his breath and saliva to the federal workers there. He said he was not told it was voluntary.
“But she was like up in my window to where I was like, ‘OK, I might as well just stay.’ I mean, the cops are around, so if I take off, I’m not going to have four or five cops chasing me.”