Drunk driving checkpoints, also called sobriety checkpoints, can check drivers for more than alcohol impairment – at least they can in California. Although drug testing at DUI checkpoints is not approved in all fifty states, California law allows law enforcement to conduct an saliva test on drivers who may be under the influence of a controlled substance.
The drug tests are a fairly new idea, and have some people questioning whether they are actually legal.
In most cases, law enforcement is not allowed to conduct warrantless searches. DUI checkpoints, however, are an exception. In most states, the law considers DUI checkpoints legal, warrantless searches.
Recently, California law enforcement introduced eight-minute swab tests to identify drivers who recently used drugs. The test reveals if the driver has any levels of methadone ,cocaine , THC (found in marijuana, prescription drugs , or methamphetamine in his / her saliva.
While some states have not instigated drug testing at DUI checkpoints, California law enforcement argues that the tests are no more invasive than traditional DUI tests, such as Breathalyzers. The driver has the right to refuse the test, just like a breath test for drunk driving. However, refusing to submit to the swab test can lead to automatic driver's license suspension.
According to supporters, the swab test will help police accurately identify and apprehend drugged drivers. On the other hand, critics claim that the test may not be accurate. Trace amounts of certain drugs can remain in your saliva for several days after consumption – long after the drug would influence you ability to safely operate a vehicle.