SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California legislators are weighing whether to allow the use of roadside swab samples to find drivers under the influence of drugs.
Assemblyman Tom Lackey retired after 28 years with the California Highway Patrol, but says he’s still passionate about safety on California’s roadways.
“We’ve become very comfortable in assessing alcohol impairment,” he said. “This is a serious, serious threat. This is not to punish people, but to protect people.”
Senate Bill 1462 would allow officers to take roadside swab samples when they believe a drive is impaired from illegal or prescription drugs.
“A ot of people are using medication to treat other conditions and not realizing they’re quite impaired when they do that and they should not be operating a motor vehicle while they’re treating themselves with these medications,” he said.
Lackey cites a case where a man allegedly ran over two teens in Auburn while under the influence of prescription drugs, and a man accused of intentionally running over a CHP officer while under the influence of drugs.
But medicinal marijuana advocates say it targets people who have marijuana in their system, but are not too impaired to drive.
“I think it wouldn’t be wise to say Marijuana and all schedule one drugs can have a swab and if you test positive regardless of impairment you’re going to go to jail,” said Ron Mullins.
Lackey introduced a similar bill last that was bumped by similar concerns.