Federal contractors set up roadblocks in 30 U.S. cities to harvest DNA samples
November 21, 2013
Federal contractors have been setting up roadblocks in cities across the country with the purpose of collecting DNA samples from passing motorists. The multi-million dollar federal program has been disturbing drivers and alarming civil libertarians.
The checkpoints consist of uniformed agents blocking a public road and flagging drivers into a testing area or a parking lot. There, the drivers are requested to submit a saliva or blood sample to the federal government.
The roadblocks were part of a study orchestrated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency contracted the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, based in Calverton, MD, to perform the roadblocks. The program costs taxpayers $7.9 million over 3 years, according to NBC News Dallas-Fort Worth.
The agency confirmed that the operation is currently being launched in 30 different U.S. cities.
Drivers are offered cash for surrendering DNA samples. The going rate is $10 for a cheek-swab and $50 for blood drawn from the vein. The goal, according to the NHTSA, is to decrease impaired-driving accidents by analyzing raw bodily fluids fresh off the street.
“They want to find out of all the people surveyed, how many people were driving with alcohol in their system, or prescription drugs, things like that,” said Lt. Freddie Turrentine of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, in Pell City, Alabama.
Voluntary or not?