North Fort Worth drivers are being pulled over at random by police and asked by federal contractors to provide a breath, saliva, cheek swabs and even blood samples.
“It just doesn’t seem right that you can be forced off the road when you’re not doing anything wrong,” said Kim Cope, who claimed she was forced over while she was on her lunch break, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate Channel 5 News.
It’s all part of a $7.9 million National Highway Traffic Safety Administration three-year study. Although officials claim that participation is “100 percent voluntary,” it didn’t seem that way to Cope.
“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,” she said.
Once parked, she couldn’t believe what happened next.
“They were asking for cheek swabs,” she said. “They would give $10 for that. Also, if you let them take your blood, they would pay you $50 for that.”
At the very least they wanted a breath test, for which no money was offered. She felt she had no choice.
“I finally did the Breathalyzer test just because I thought that would be the easiest way to leave,” she said.
The incident took place Friday. When Channel 5 News contacted Fort Worth Police, they claimed no knowledge. On Tuesday they revised that statement, claiming that the agency had asked off-duty officers to help it conduct its survey.
“We are reviewing the actions of all police personnel involved to ensure that FWPD policies and procedures were followed,” he said. “We apologize if any of our drivers and citizens were offended or inconvenienced by the NHTSA National Roadside Survey.”
Channel 5 News reported:
NBC DFW confirmed that the survey was done by a government contractor, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which is based in Calverton, Md.
A company spokeswoman referred questions to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
An agency spokeswoman sent an email confirming the government is conducting the surveys in 30 cities across the country in an effort to reduce impaired-driving accidents.
If the study involves “ impaired-driving accidents,” then why the cheek swabs? Cheek swabs are used top collect DNA samples, not to test blood alcogol content.
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