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Refusal May Mean Mandatory Blood Draw
One of America’s most committed and deadliest crimes is impaired driving. All states and districts have established the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 as the limit. In 2010 10,228 people died in traffic crashes in which at least one driver was at or over the legal limit (Traffic Safety Marketing, 2010, p. 1). In efforts to save more lives on our public highways the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been working alongside state and local governments, as well as, numerous nonprofit research organizations by providing grant money to study the effects of impaired driving and help to establish harsher laws. A study currently be conducted, and is implemented in some states, is the “No Refusal” program, which encourages the impaired driver to submit a breath alcohol test or breathalyzer in lieu of a mandatory blood draw. This program is being welcomed and opposed at all levels of government.
The U. S. Supreme Court decided blood could be drawn in the DWI case of Schmerber v. California in 1966. In 1985 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Skinner noted in Winston v. Lee “the drawing of blood constitutes only a minimally intrusive search. Blood tests do not infringe significant privacy interest.” In 1995 two Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers in Arizona were certified in phlebotomy. A Texas police officer in 2002 successfully used a search warrant to retrieve blood in a DWI case. By 2005 city law enforcement of Dalworthington Gardens, TX became the first to only request blood through warrants. The No Refusal program was created in 2006. The No Refusal program was implemented by 2007, not only in Texas, but eight other states including Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Utah. The first grants for the program was awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation in 2009. The U.S. DOT and NHTSA as of 2010 have endorsed No Refusal and...