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Federal survey to get consent for breath samples

U.S. transportation officials say a roadside survey on drinking and drugged driving will no longer collect breath samples from motorists without their consent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday its contractor will get motorists’ permission before using a device called a passive alcohol sensor. Survey-takers had been using the device to collect breath samples from motorists before they could either agree to take part in the survey or refuse and drive away.

Acting Administrator David Friedman announced the change at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

Lawmakers are looking into how the survey is being conducted amid complaints that motorists were forced off the road and asked to participate.

The survey measures how many of the nation’s motorists drive while drunk or high.