November 20, 2013
Dozens of Texas drivers have been stopped at a police road block,
where they were then directed into a parking lot and forced into
surrendering blood, saliva and breath samples in a study that has upset
civil liberties advocates.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration admitted it was
attempting to conduct a government study meant to determine the number
of drunk or drug-impaired drivers on the road at any given time.
“It just doesn’t seem right that you can be forced off the road when you’re not doing anything wrong,”
Kim Cope, who said she was forced to the side of the road while making her way to lunch, told NBCDFW.com. “I gestured to the guy in front that I just wanted to go straight, but he wouldn’t let me and forced me into the parking spot.”
The tests were made even more mysterious when reporters, alerted to
the situation by concerned drivers, were unable to find any officers in
the Fort Worth Police Department who had been involved. The NHTSA only
admitted its involvement after local media sought answers.
The department, which says its mission is to “save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce vehicle-related crashes,”
maintains that participation in the research was completely voluntary.
But Ms. Cope said she felt trapped during what seemed to be an
“I finally did the breathalyzer test just because I thought it would
be the easiest way to leave,” she said. “It just doesn’t seem right that
they should be able to do any of it. If it’s voluntary, it’s voluntary,
and none of it felt voluntary.”