Drivers pulled over, asked for DNA and blood samples by federal contractors

federalsurvey_s640x416By Douglas Ernst

Drivers in North Fort Worth, Texas, are being pulled over at a police roadblock and asked for saliva, blood and breath samples. They are offered $10 for a cheek-swab DNA sample, $50 for a blood sample, and nothing for a breath sample — since passive alcohol sensors gather that information the moment the driver is pulled over.

NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth found that contractors for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are stopping people as part of a $7.9 million voluntary survey on drunken or impaired drivers that is taking place over three years in 30 cities.

It just doesn’t seem right that you can be forced off the road when you’re not doing anything wrong,” Kim Cope told NBC. She was stopped during her lunch break.

“I gestured to the guy in front that I just wanted to go straight, but he wouldn’t let me and forced me into a parking spot,” said Ms. Cope, who told the news station she felt trapped.

“I finally did the Breathalyzer test just because I thought that would be the easiest way to leave.”

The TV station’s investigation confirmed that the contractor responsible for the stops was the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which is based in Calverton, Md. The station sent inquiries to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the program but did not receive a response.

“It just doesn’t seem right that they should be able to do any of it,” Ms. Cope added. “If it’s voluntary, it’s voluntary, and none of it felt voluntary.”