CJI's Roadside Oral Fluid Program was created as part of the “Great Lakes, High Stakes” project, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Region 5 Office, to address the emergence of drug-impaired driving taking place on Indiana roads. Through the agency's Traffic Safety Division, CJI is equipping law enforcement officers with a new roadside tool, known as the SoToxa Mobile Test System, to identify and keep drug-impaired drivers off the road.
SoToxa is a handheld analyzer that uses an oral fluid swab to detect the presence of six kinds of drugs: cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates, cannabis (THC), amphetamine and benzodiazepines. It's similar to a portable breathalyzer, but instead of testing for traces of alcohol, it detects the presence of drugs.
How SoToxa will be used
To use SoToxa, the officer must have both a reason to stop a motorist, whether it’s for driving erratically, speeding or another infraction, and suspect impairment. During the traffic stop, officers will use standard detection techniques such as field sobriety tests, portable breathalyzers and suspect interviews to evaluate the driver. SoToxa would not replace those techniques but would instead function as an additional roadside tool officers could use.
If drug-impaired driving is suspected, the officer can ask the driver to take the SoToxa test. This is done by collecting an oral fluid sample, which is then inserted into the handheld analyzer. Results are available roadside within five minutes and indicate positive or negative for each of the six drug categories.
Much like a portable breathalyzer, the SoToxa test can be refused, and the results cannot be used as evidence in court to determine if the driver was impaired. The purpose of the test is to further establish probable cause, which can be used by the officer to make an arrest, administer a certified breath test, take the suspect for medical treatment or apply for a warrant to administer a blood draw.
The units cost $4,500 each, are reusable and were paid for with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds.