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New test may help detect THC in drivers

Wisconsin individuals may want to know that a new tool created by Stanford University researchers may be able to detect THC levels of drivers in as little as three minutes. The device would help officers determine if a person is impaired from marijuana as well as the level of concentration present in an individual.

With marijuana being legalized in some fashion in over 20 states and more getting ready to vote on the issue in November, new measures are being considered to gauge impaired driving. In response, a team of researchers developed a mobile device that detects THC molecules in saliva through the use of magnetic biosensors. According to reports, an officer would need to collect a sample of a motorist's saliva, and a reader would send the results to a smartphone or laptop. The device is said to detect THC concentrations between 0 to 50 nanograms per milliliter of saliva.

The researchers chose to focus on saliva because obtaining it would be less invasive than a blood or urine test, and saliva also seems to show a better measurement of marijuana intoxication. Because of the biosensors in the tool, the device could also be used to detect other drugs in a driver's system such as heroin, morphine or cocaine. However, before the device is ready to be used in the field, it would need to pass a series of tests by regulators. Additionally, more states would need to set a THC concentration limit in a driver's saliva.

Individuals who are facing DUI charges based on impairment caused by drugs may want to speak to a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney could help review the cause of the traffic stop as well as the tests that were administered to see if proper procedures were followed by officers.

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