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Congressman Bill Shuster questions roadside survey practices

Written by witf Staff Report and The Associated Press | Mar 6, 2014 10:01 AM
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(Washington) -- The chairman of the House transportation committee says he wants to make sure a federal roadside survey on drinking and drugged driving is being conducted appropriately after motorists complained about being forced off the road and asked to participate.  

Republican midstate Congressman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania has told The Associated Press while the National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drugged Driving has provided ``valuable highway safety information'' over the years, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is looking into how the survey is administered. 

Shuster's district includes all of Franklin County and portions of Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin and Perry counties.

The federal government says its periodic survey on motorists' drinking and drug-taking habits provides a vital tool for monitoring the safety of America's roadways.

But some motorists and civil liberties groups say the government's methods are intrusive and unconstitutional. A high-profile incident occurred last December in Reading, when Ricardo Nieves said he felt violated when a private contractor working for the federal government forced him and other motorists a street to try to survey them about their driving habits and ask for a swab of their mouth. At the time, Reading Police Chief William Heim said the checkpoints were voluntary and motorists were under no obligation to take part in the survey or the swab. 

 

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