Originally published November 26 2013
Paramilitary government contractors now forcing drivers off the road, demanding DNA samples
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Texas is struggling to maintain its reputation as a beacon of individual sovereignty and freedom with episodes like this one.
According to local reports, drivers motoring along a busy street in Fort Worth were recently stopped by police at a roadblock and told to move into a nearby parking lot, where they were summarily asked by federal contractors for samples of blood, breath and saliva.
Local affiliate NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported that the roadblock was established as part of a government research study to find out the number of drunken or drug-impaired drivers.
"It just doesn't seem right that you can be forced off the road when you're not doing anything wrong," complained Kim Cope. She told the local affiliate that "she was on her lunch break when she was forced to pull over at the roadblock on Beach Street in North Fort Worth."
The "study" is being conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is burning through $7.9 million in taxpayer money to conduct the study over the next three years. Oh, and the agency's contractors said participation was "100 percent voluntary" and anonymous.
But was it really?
'I finally gave in so I could leave'
Cope said she didn't think so, despite the presence of signs saying otherwise.
"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 told the local NBC affiliate. And once she got parked, she could not believe what the government contractors asked.
"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 a minimum, she said they wanted to test her breath for alcohol.
She said she remembered just feeling trapped.
"I finally did the breathalyzer test just because I thought that would be the easiest way to leave," she said, adding she didn't take any money from the contractors.
The NBC affiliate reported that local Fort Worth police said they did not immediately find any record of any officers taking part in the "study." But police spokesman Sgt. Kelly Peel said the department's Traffic Division did coordinate with the federal highway agency by contributing off-duty officers that the NHTSA asked for to help with the 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."
Well, it's a little late for that, but whatever.
As reported by NBC Dallas-Fort Worth:
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.
She did not respond to another email from NBC DFW asking specific questions about the program.
'None of it felt voluntary'
A Fort Worth attorney who specializes in civil liberties law voiced concerns as to whether the stops were even constitutional.
"You can't just be pulled over randomly or for no reason," attorney Frank Colosi said.
He also pointed out that the fine print on a form handed to drivers tells them that their breath was tested by "passive alcohol sensor readings before the consent process has been completed."
"They're essentially lying to you when they say it's completely voluntary, because they're testing you at that moment," Colosi said.
Further, he also questioned the validity of the results of the survey. If it truly is voluntary, he noted, than anyone who had been drinking or using drugs would simply bow out and decline participation.
As for Cope, she's bummed by it all.
"It just doesn't seem right that they should be able to do any of it," she said. "If it's voluntary, it's voluntary, and none of it felt voluntary."
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