(Dec. 6, 2018) On November 5, 2018, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) passed an amendment law with new provisions regarding the testing of drivers’ blood and alcohol levels by the police. (Transportation Ordinance (Amendment No. 125) Law, 5779-2018 (SEFER HAHUKIM [SH] [BOOK OF LAWS] (official gazette) 5778 No. 2755 p. 40, Ministry of Justice website (in Hebrew; click on issue No. 2755) (Amendment Law); amending the Transportation Ordinance (New Version), DINE MEDINAT YISRAEL (Nusah Hadash) (DMY) [LAWS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL (New Version), The Revised and Updated Hebrew Text of Legislation Enacted Before the Establishment of the State] No. 7, p. 173 (1961), as amended (TA).
The Amendment Law establishes a presumption that for the purpose of determining the state of drunkenness, blood alcohol content identified in excess of permitted levels in a driver’s breath, urine, or blood test is presumed to have been present in the driver’s body three hours prior to the test. (Amendment Law § 1(1), amending § 64B(a)(3) of the TA.)
In addition, the Amendment Law authorizes a law enforcement officer to require a driver or a person who controls a vehicle (defined under § 12A(1) of the TA as a driving instructor or a person accompanying a new driver) to provide a saliva sample for testing for the presence of a “dangerous drug,” utilizing a preapproved testing kit. Dangerous drugs are defined under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance (New Version) 1973-5733, DMY No. 27 p. 526 (1973), as amended. The authority to require submission to a saliva test does not depend on a suspicion that the person committed an offense under the Transportation Ordinance. (Id., adding § 64B(A3)(1) to the TA).
The presence of a dangerous drug in a person’s saliva may constitute a reasonable suspicion that the person was driving under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs, creating the grounds for conducting of a blood or urine test on the driver or the controller, even if he or she is unconscious. A saliva test result that does not indicate the presence of a dangerous drug does not diminish the law enforcement officer’s authority to demand a driver or the controller of a vehicle to provide a blood or urine sample as long as a reasonable suspicion arises in the course of the saliva sampling. (Id., adding § 64B(A3)(2–3) to the TA.)
The Amendment Law clarifies that a person cannot be convicted of driving under the influence solely on the basis of results of a saliva test. (Id., adding § 64B(A3)(4) to the TA.)