The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may take a cue from several states and begin encouraging police departments to have officer draw blood from drivers suspected of driving under the influence who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1966 that police could forcibly administer blood tests on DUI suspects if the test was conducted after an arrest, was carried out properly, and was based on reasonable leads, according to the Associated Press. Police began to regularly implement this practice in 1995 in Arizona.


A deputy prosecutor in Idaho said the intention of the practice of drawing blood is to reduce the number of DUI suspects who bring their cases to court by refusing a breathalyzer test.


Alan Haywood, a law enforcement coordinator in Arizona who currently directs blood test training programs in Idaho and Texas, says that since the program began, the rate of drivers refusing chemical testing has seen a “significant” decline.


However, DUI defense attorneys say that police departments should be concerned that the practice could lead to malpractice cases if a blood test is administered by someone who lacks the proper training.


According to research conducting by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, one DUI arrest is made for every 88 episodes of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration above the legal limit.

Bob Battle
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