This study assessed current policies and practices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as related to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s publication Advancing Drugged Driving Data at the State Level: Synthesis of Barriers and Expert Panel Recommendations (2016).
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There is an urgent need for better data on the drugged driving situation at both the state and national levels as this affects our understanding of the extent of the drugged driving problem and how it is changing over time, of ways of communicating the risks to the general public, and of measuring the effectiveness of efforts to reduce it. In order to address this need for better data, in 2015 the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a synthesis of scientific literature on barriers that impede state efforts to collect and compile drugged driving data, and existing recommendations aimed at addressing the identified barriers. An expert panel of law enforcement officials, toxicologists and other traffic safety professionals then used that information to formulate recommendations to improve drugged driving data at the state level (Arnold & Scopatz, 2016). Some of the recommendations in that report were at the national level such as authorizing federal funds for roadside surveys and developing national model specifications for oral fluid drug test devices. Twelve recommendations were at the state level to improve drugged driving data, and are addressed in this report.
Based upon legal research and responses to a survey, state laws, policies, and practices were assessed to determine whether and to what degree they align with recommendations aimed at improving drugged driving data.
State laws, policies, and practices vary across states and substantial progress is still needed.
While most law enforcement officers (LEOs) have been trained in the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, very few have been trained in the “Drugs That Impair Driving” curriculum and the “Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement” (ARIDE) course, which is critical. The SFST training was developed for detecting alcohol impairment while the other two courses are for detecting impairment by drugs other than alcohol.
At the time of the review, 15 states reported they authorize the collection and testing of oral fluid for alcohol and/or other drugs, and 10 states reported having pilot testing programs. Most states authorize the testing of drivers fatally injured in crashes and surviving drivers only when there is probable cause. Most states also reported they have improved the implementation and utilization of the Drug Evaluation and Classification program. The majority of states do not expressly authorize electronic warrants which reduce delays in collecting specimens from drivers arrested for DUI. Finally, 41 states reported that LEOs report observed behavioral impairment among surviving drivers in fatal crashes.
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