Federal contractors seeking blood, breath, and saliva samples from motorists in North Fort Worth, Tx., stopped cars last week at a police roadblock and directed them into a nearby parking lot.
The move was part of a research project by the government to ascertain the number of impaired drivers on the road, according to a story on KXAS-TV.
Those behind the wheel said they felt "trapped."
"It just doesn't seem right that you can be forced off the road when you're not doing anything wrong," said Kim Cope, who was on her lunch break when she was directed into a parking lot and asked for cheek swabs, a blood sample, and a Breathalyzer test.
No one was trapped, officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. They told KXAS-TV the agency is spending nearly $8 million on a three-year study in 30 cities that is "100 percent voluntary."
Cope disagreed that it was "100 percent voluntary."
"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 said. "They were asking for cheek swabs. They would give $10 for that. Also, if you let them take your blood, they would pay you $50 for that."
They also asked whether they could test Cope's breath for alcohol, for which she would be paid nothing.
"I finally did the Breathalyzer test just because I thought that would be the easiest way to leave," she said.
Frank Colosi, a civil liberties lawyer in Fort Worth, questioned the constitutionality of such a survey.
"You can't just be pulled over randomly or for no reason," Colosi said. "They're essentially lying to you when they say it's completely voluntary, because they're testing you at that moment."
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