Field Test of On-Site
Drug Detection Devices
Final Report -- October 2000
This report describes results from a study funded by NHTSA to assess the utility of on-site testing devices when used by police officers. It is the first comprehensive study to systematically select the on-site devices to be used, capture a representative sample of DUI arrestees in two major urban areas, evaluate the accuracy of five on-site testing devices when used by actual arresting officers, and provide police officer subjective ratings of the on-site devices.
The study had multiple objectives. First, we needed to ensure that a sample of commercially available on-site drug screening devices -- for the purposes of police determinations of drug use by drivers -- were being assessed. The accuracy of the devices then had to be assessed against the most reliable standard available -- GC/MS tests. However, perhaps the key distinguishing element of this study was that it was a field test. This project was designed to assess how well the devices perform when they were taken out of the laboratory and placed in the hands of law enforcement personnel. This element was important because previous evaluations of these devices were performed in laboratories using trained laboratory personnel.
The study had four primary objectives:
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