Ohio's New "Impairment Detection" Device: A Futile Expense or a Game Changer?

September 6th, 2023 Opinion & Editorials Ryan Spegal
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As neighboring Ohio recently announced the adoption of the DAX Evidence Recorder to monitor suspected impaired drivers, many Michigan residents might be asking: Could Michigan be next? However, the purported effectiveness of this device raises some significant questions and eyebrows.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety proudly declared that the Ohio Traffic Safety Office received a $15,087 grant from the Governors Highway Safety Association and Responsibility.org. This grant aims to train officers in utilizing the DAX Evidence Recorders, devices designed to record eye movements and other physical responses of those believed to be under the influence.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol's data suggests that marijuana impairment is an escalating problem, with nearly one in four of their 100,000 OVI arrests since 2018 allegedly related to the substance. OTSO Director Emily Davidson passionately states that the DAX Evidence Recorder will provide the crucial training and tools law enforcement needs to "remove dangerous drivers from the road."

But let's pause and consider the implications here.

Firstly, the idea of detecting marijuana impairment through eye movements and physical responses is problematic at best. Unlike alcohol, marijuana impairment is not linear and does not manifest identically in all users. Some habitual users may exhibit few outward signs of intoxication, while occasional users might seem impaired even with minimal consumption. Can the DAX device differentiate?

Furthermore, the idea that this device will "keep officers in the field" seems a bit lofty. The implication is that by providing video and audio evidence, many impaired driving cases will be settled before court. Yet, without clear scientific validation of the DAX Evidence Recorder's effectiveness, it's possible that these recordings could be challenged and dismissed in court. This would not only waste taxpayer money but could also inadvertently allow impaired drivers to evade consequences.

Michigan residents should be watchful. While the intent of Ohio's move is commendable, the execution seems shaky. We need solutions grounded in science, not gimmicky devices that might not stand the test of a courtroom. With the increasing normalization of marijuana use in both Michigan and surrounding states, it's crucial to address driving safety with credible methods, not questionable ones.

For those curious about how the DAX Evidence Recorder operates, check out the official video demonstration below. Decide for yourself: Is it the future of impairment detection or just another expense with limited impact?


Note: This opinion piece is written from a speculative viewpoint based on the information provided. The efficacy and real-world application of the DAX Evidence Recorder are yet to be fully observed and understood.

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