The state of Texas has authorized 6,000 paramedics to assist policemen by conducting roadside DWI blood draws during traffic stops.
This arguably intrusive procedure has resulted from a new law, passed by the Texas Legislature in the spring. It went into effect this Sunday.
If a police officer requests a blood draw, EMTs will now come on the scene promptly. A blood test will then be administered at the scene of an accident or right after an arrest is made.
Before this law went into effect, blood draws usually took place in hospitals or jails and were conducted by medical personnel with higher degrees of training than the average paramedic.
But now paramedics draw blood results on the spot. Susan Reed, the Bexar County District Attorney, said, “In the last legislative session, the legislation addressed an issue of whether EMTs could take blood in relation to intoxication behind the wheel, be it an accident issue or an arrest. We could develop a system of mobile units, using EMTs to do that. But remember, it is still the circumstance of having the sanitary place.”
The new law will conceivably be a primary catalyst for making more DWI arrests. Reed said the mobile blood tests “[give] us more options and more ability to do warrants and do blood draws in relation to DWI.”
It is notable that the new law came into effect on Labor Day weekend, a time of heightened DWI arrests and police presence. Last year during the holiday weekend, 25,000 speeding tickets were given out in the state.
For years, police and the supreme court have increasingly limited the rights of motorists to make claims of unlawful search and seizure. This latest move in Texas fits within that trend.
Are on-spot DWI blood draws a mere tool to help officials rack up tickets? Or are they justifiable? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.