There have been some significant advances within the last few months for a marijuana breathalyzer. This comes as more states choose legalization over prohibition, leading to more people driving while high. Although consuming marijuana and driving is still very illegal, many police officers around the country are having a hard time enforcing these rules due to insufficient equipment.
Currently, when a police officer attempts to determine whether a driver has consumed marijuana before driving, they must either issue a drug test or an oral swab. The drug tests can lead to the driver getting an OWI even if they haven’t smoked marijuana before getting in the car. Since this is often the case, officers will instead use an oral swab to check if marijuana remnants are in the driver’s mouth. These oral swabs can be misinterpreted and have proven to be relatively unreliable in some circumstances.
The simple solution, which has seen advancements recently is a marijuana breathalyzer. A team at UCLA has been working on a mobile breathalyzer that, similar to an alcohol breathalyzer, determines the amount of weed in the users blood at the current time. This advancement could be implemented relatively soon and will be a huge step in reducing accidents from marijuana-impaired drivers. This new breathalyzer will also help reduce the number of false positives from oral swabs and traditional drug testing methods.
The next step for the team over at UCLA is to make the device more mobile. As of right now, the device works and can be implemented, but is not mobile in any manner. These new breathalyzers need to fit in the hand of police officers and other agencies around the country. There is no specific time scale as to when this will happen, but many are expecting the device to be issued within the next few years.
Read the whole article from UCLA here.