BOSTON — The device called IMMAD -- which stands for impairment measurement marijuana driving -- would test the driver's peripheral vision during a traffic stop.
The driver would look into the goggles, stare at a black dot and use a remote to indicate when they see the flashing stripes. Their response time is also factored in.
"Any time they see the stripe in the goggle, they press the button," the device's creator, Dr. Denise Valenti, said. "It uses a stripe in a tiny square. The stripes flicker and then get dimmer. If you are high on marijuana -- recently used it -- you can not see the dimmer targets."
When you are behind the wheel of a car and high on marijuana, the doctor says your vision becomes very focused. You get what's called tunnel vision and that's when you start to lose your peripheral vision. And the device is designed to try to test for that.
"A person who is high can not see many of the squares that are a lower contrast or dimmer," Dr. Valenti said.
Dr. Denise Valenti says she invented the technology by accident researching medicinal marijuana for Alzheimer's. That technology, it turns out could work for this purpose.
"[It] would work nicely to determine if a person was too high to drive," she said.
IMMAD is still being tested and it would need to be vetted in a court system.
"You're always going to have the initial observations that are made by the officer, but then having some sort of confirmatory test following that will be very useful," Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael said.
Walpole's chief says these tools are crucial to officers in the field.
Doctor Valenti says IMMAD will be in the hands of law enforcement within the next year.
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