How Canada’s new roadside testing device, the Draeger Drugtest 5000, falls short

It looks like a brand new roadside testing device is going to hit our roadways come October, but this one won’t be screening for alcohol.

The Draeger DrugTest 5000 is set to become the first drug-screening device that was approved to be used by police forces.

Dependent on the recommendation of an independent committee of traffic safety experts and toxicologists, Jody Wilson-Raybould has given a note of order to approve the device for use. An opportunity for the public to weigh-in follows the note, but the device will be eligible for use as soon as Bill C-46 becomes law on October 17, 2018.

This marks the first time in Canadian history that a roadside screening device will be used to detect for the presence of drugs in drivers.

Prior to this, officers were limited to conducting standardized field sobriety testing in order to form grounds to detain and arrest a motorist for driving. These tests, while subjective and often problematic in their own right, have existed for decades — and that won’t change on October 17, 2018.

Field sobriety tests will be available for officers to use in the class of impaired driving investigations.

This device should — theoretically — streamline the procedure for detecting drugs on the roadside.

It must provide an objective basis for determining whether a driver has drugs in their body. It must be more easy to execute and provide more assurance to drivers that their outcomes, unlike field testing, are not subject to officer discretion.

But that doesn’t mean it will.

The choice of the Draeger Drugtest 5000 is a curious one off the bat.

The Draeger DrugTest 5000 was not used in any of the pilot projects that were conducted within the previous year by the RCMP and Public Safety Canada on drug testing devices, and little is known about the device at this point.

So what do we know?

It’s a device that is bulky. It doesn’t look anything like the alcohol breath testing devices we have become accustomed to at police roadblocks. The Draeger looks like Keurig coffeemaker, but it carries a much heftier price tag — every device costs around $6,000.

Like other drug testing devices, the Draeger uses saliva samples to check for the presence of drugs.

This specific device requires so as to collect an adequate sample that the topic swab the inside of their mouth for about four minutes.

It has to be placed into the device, where analysis occurs When the sample has been collected. The results will be listed on the device screen.

The Draeger evaluations for a selection of substances.

  • cannabis
  • opiates
  • benzodiazepines
  • cocaine
  • amphetamines
  • methamphetamines.

The maker also boasts it as being accurate and reliable.

But the Draeger device also has some significant limitations.

For example, if a topic eats, drinks or smokes within ten minutes of the test results can be compromised. This means that police officers will need to abide by protocols that are specific, and motorists will need to be truthful about the events leading up in order for results. These two factors do not always occur.

Another significant limitation is your surroundings. Tests may be affected, if the device isn & rsquo; t in a secure and controlled environment. A tilt of ten degrees or more can affect the accuracy of results. Consider how things could go wrong when testing is currently occurring on the roadside, in an uncontrolled and often chaotic environment.

But perhaps the most concerning restriction for the Draeger DrugTest 5000 has to do with temperature. The device has an operating temperature range between 40 and 4 degrees Celcius. This limitation has caused difficulties for some geographical areas previously, while the maker of the system assures that the device will not be affected by outdoor temperature, as it regulates its own internal temperature.

In 2017, in which the device was not found to be acceptable for use in temperatures under 4 levels, the device proved to be a problem for police forces in Ireland.

Officers were forced to detain drivers once temperatures dipped down, so that they could experience testing indoors and bring them back to the police station!

When you consider the vast majority of Canada experiences temperatures below freezing for at least six months of the year, it is difficult to understand how this device will work in such a unique and challenging environment.

Perhaps the biggest limitation of the device, though, is it can’t detect for impairment.

The Draeger can detect the presence of drugs in the oral fluid…and nothing else.

This means that even drivers who are not affected by drugs may be arrested, investigated for and charged with driving if the system generates a result for this and detects the simple presence of a medication. This comes with concerns about individual liberties and Charter rights in this country.

Therefore, while the Draeger DrugTest 5000 is advertised as creating drug easy, secure and sterile,” drug testing’s reality may not measure up

Featured picture courtesy of Draeger.

Released at Fri, 24 Aug 2018 20:02:09 +0000

Posted in: News

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