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Do you think the state should require blood tests at the scenes of major accidents?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on February 1, 2008

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Photo of Sarah Johnson

“No, because it’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment to conduct a bodily search without probable cause.”

Photo of Jeremy Hill

“I think a Breathalyzer would be fine, but I don’t see any reason to draw blood.”

Photo of Audrianna Kozlowski

“If a fatality is involved, I think it would be a good idea to test the driver at fault.”

Photo of Mike Maude

“To me, it seems reasonable to do a blood test for alcohol or drugs that may have affected the driver.”


H_Lecter 10 years, 2 months ago

Sure...and throwing in an optional lipid check would be a nice touch.

Liberty 10 years, 2 months ago

There are already plenty of laws in place to enforce against drunk driving. I agree with the answer above, that it is a violation of the fourth amendment. The State and the media shouldn't even be talking about it as a possiblity since it is clearly a violation of the fourth amendment.

Fishman 10 years, 2 months ago

I don't think it is a bad idea. I know some people don't agree, and I can understand that too. If someone is on drugs or alcohol and is involved in a fatal accident, do you REALLY want them to continue driving after they recover from their injuries, assuming they would have injuries?

Flap Doodle 10 years, 2 months ago

I would offer a stool sample as an alternative.

nobody1793 10 years, 2 months ago

Why not base the decision on whether or not the parties involved appear intoxicated? Isn't that the cop's job already?

trinity 10 years, 2 months ago

heh-do ya s'pose they drew blood on that kstate coach that got popped for DUI wednesday night?

i think doing a blood draw on all occupants at a wreck is just not cricket. test the driver, yeah, but why passengers? and like someone already commented, i thought that they could or did do this already?!

Richard Heckler 10 years, 2 months ago

If the brakes failed that would not show up in a blood test.

Or if a driver had not enough sleep would a blood test reveal such?

When drivers are obviously intoxicated by alcohol isn't a test performed?

What if drawing blood on the scene caused a person to fall into a coma?

To assume without substantial probable cause would simply not be acceptable.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 2 months ago

snap_'s answer is amusing and the most appropriate response.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 2 months ago

"The State and the media shouldn't even be talking about it as a possiblity since it is clearly a violation of the fourth amendment"

Apparently the fourth amendment really matters, but some of us don't care so much for the first amendment.

busymom 10 years, 2 months ago

I like how ljw figures out how to do stories about the same thing so everyone that comments has to repeat themselves.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 2 months ago

now that I've had time to read more responses, ya'll are very funny usual.

Mandatory blood tests seems ridiculous. Can you imagine grandpa getting tested for illicit drugs? Why not check for love bites (if he had a passenger) to see if he was engaged in other distracting activities? So silly. That being said, if they have probable cause, then make grandpa bleed a little. Subpoena his phone records to see if grandpa was texting again! (And go ahead and check for those love bites, too!) Eeewww...I don't want that job!

JSpizias 10 years, 2 months ago

No-this proposal should be deep-sixed. In today's litigious society it will only create more lawsuits-and we have more than enough of them already. Generally, younger people take far fewer prescription drugs than those in their 50's or higher. Yet accident statistics show this group has among the best driving records. If one has read any physician prescribing information for drugs one realizes that there are cautions among a large fraction about possible dizziness, etc. For example, ACE inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) are one of the most widely prescribed to treat hypertension (and a near majority if not a majority of those over 50 suffer from this disorder). The information for patients states "Patients shouild be cautioned to report lighheadedness especially during the first few days of therapy". Most people will never know any effect from such drug but if a patient taking such a drug had an accident and this was found by blood testing you can bet it would be used against the individual in court by lawyers interested in a fast buck. You don't have to have correct science in such torts, only a convincing spiel as John Edwards apparently had about cerebral palsy. Check with a pathologist about what is known about the possible causes of cerebral palsy and their view of such lawsuits.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES Another specialty Edwards developed was in medical malpractice cases involving problems during births of babies. According to the New York Times, after Edwards won a $6.5M verdict for a baby born with cerbral-palsy, he filed at least 20 similar lawsuits against doctors and hospitals in deliveries gone wrong, winning verdicts and settlements of more than $60M. Case Summary of Facts Case Type Result Griffin v. Teague, et al. (Mecklenburg Co. Superior Ct., NC, 1997) Application of abdominal pressure and delay in performing c-section caused brain damage to infant and resulted in child having cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia. Verdict set record for malpractice award. Medical Malpractice

Chris Beilman 10 years, 2 months ago

I wonder which lab companies will be awarded the contract to do all of these test ??? I need to go talk to my broker ... later dudes ....

Hoots 10 years, 2 months ago

I had an ex-girlfriend who thought it was just fine to get all STONED and drive around. This use to pizz me off as I thought it was reckless of others safety. How is it any different for them to give you a breathalyzer or require a blood test? Either way they are making you take a test. I you are stoned you are as bad if not worse than the drunk considering you are under the influence of an ILLIGAL substance. I hope this passes. Maybe it will make some people think:then again those people probably won't think and that's the point.

Hoots 10 years, 2 months ago

But they test peoples blood in accidents all the time. Especially in cases when the people are unable to provide a breath test.

How is it that labs know the typical toxic levels of most illegal drugs and you say they have no way of knowing how much of any drug you might have in your system?

They figure out the toxicity levels in people's blood samples all the time. You can't tell me they can't come up with standards. Take into account it is illegal for a person under 21 to have anything but a trace of alcohol in their system because it is illegal for them to consume alcohol. I think the only people that need to worry jere are people who are on the wrong side of the legal system and what is legal to be consumed. In the case of marijuana as an example. A person can have some form of mental impairment for up to 23 hours after getting high. There is also a cumulative effect on the cognitive process that correlates to how often someone gets high. These things are measurable and quantifiable.

been_there 10 years, 2 months ago

I guess it would depend on which end of the stick you are on. If you're the person who caused the accident and had been using illegal drugs you would not want it known, but if you're are the person he hit or he caused the loss of your loved one, you would want to know for possible legal action. Wouldn't you want justice for your loved one? Of course that explains the crimminal attorney's answer. Wouldn't it be nice if people wouldn't get behind the wheel voluntarily if they are stoned or intoxicated?

been_there 10 years, 2 months ago

Take into account that in a fatality accident, the ones he/she leaves behind have their lives changed forever. I've known people that were never the same after a member of their family was killed by a drunken or impaired driver and would still cry years later.

been_there 10 years, 2 months ago

DirtyLinen It doesn't appear as if you have experienced the kind of situation I was refering to, and I hope you don't. There are a lot of drivers out there with only the minimum required car insurance which really doesn't cover much, and not just people without much money, just people who don't want to give their money to an insurance company or are willing to gamble that they won't have an accident. I know a guy who owns 4 houses and drives used cars and only carries the minimun required insurance and drinks almost every day. He's willing to gamble and his insurance would not cover a serious accident. What if he lends his car to someone who has been smoking pot and there is an accident, maybe someone you know? Just food for thought.

Kathy Theis-Getto 10 years, 2 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says:

"And in that case, they already have the right to test under existing law."



Makes the most sense of all the posts here, although I do enjoy DirtyLinen's knowledgable posts.

janeyb 10 years, 2 months ago

Some accidents are ruled 50/50 because there no witnesses. What if someone is responsible for hitting you and dies, but no witnesses, only your word? There are too many different scenarios for this law to be fair. Plus blood tests aren't cheap. Who is going to pay, especially if the test is negative.

been_there 10 years, 2 months ago

So DirtyLinen what is your fair solution to getting impaired drivers off the road or holding them responsible for the damage they cause? For many many years drunken drivers did not face consequences for actions, it was just considered a part of life. If you have some suggestions I am more than willing to listen.

West_Sider 10 years, 2 months ago

SKINNER v. RAILWAY LABOR EXECUTIVES' ASSN., 489 U.S. 602 (1989) - Subpart C

How is a car that is involved in an accident that much different than a train that is involved in an accident?

been_there 10 years, 2 months ago

Well till then I guess I'll go with what's available for my protection.

been_there 10 years, 2 months ago

OK now it seems like you're being hostile because I won't agree with you. I don't look for scapegoats. I have had plenty of chances to sue people or bussinesses and won, but I'm not that type of person. I don't have to agree with you and you don't have to agree with me, let's just leave it at that.

been_there 10 years, 2 months ago

For the record I never said I agreed with the entire bill certainly not the passenger part, but the problem needs to be addressed in a resonable manner.

been_there 10 years, 2 months ago

A bit obsessed are we? It's actually getting kind of funny. Now freshpowder actually has some good points well worth thinking about. I think those are some serious concerns that would need to considered first.

been_there 10 years, 2 months ago

I would not care if they took my blood at an accident because they wouldn't find anything, but would like to know what happens afterwards. I have tried to end this in a nonconfrontational way but you refuse to. So post away and feel superior.

RedwoodCoast 10 years, 2 months ago

Well, hopefully the potential victims of this legislation can find themselves good attorneys capable of providing reasonable doubt as to the alleged crime. Perhaps it will invigorate the careers of the lawyers who figure out they can specialize in arguing the resultant court cases.

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