Enhancing Drugged Driving Data: State-Level Recommendations

State-by-state analysis identifying the specific legislative, regulatory and/or resource changes required for states to align with the policies and practices in this AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s report.

December 2019

Suggested Citation

For media inquiries, contact:

Jeanette Casselano
202-942-2072
JCasselano@national.aaa.com

Authors

Eileen P. Taylor

A. Scott McKnight

Ryan Treffers

Abstract

Introduction

The AAA Foundation has sponsored three interrelated studies over the last five years to identify and address issues related to the quality and quantity of drugged driving data. These three reports describe the complex and evolving issues related to measuring and documenting the extent of drugged driving in the United States.

  • The Phase I report, title Advancing Drugged Driving Data at the State Level: Synthesis of Barriers and Expert Panel Recommendations (2016), detailed expert panel recommendations on advancing drugged driving data collection.
  • The Phase II report, titled Advancing Drugged Driving Data at the State Level: State-by-State Assessment (2018), compared the Phase I state-level recommendations to policies and practices in each state and the District of Columbia.
  • This Phase III effort focuses on seven of the Phase I state-level recommendations, eliciting a list of specific barriers and action steps from key stakeholders to address current laws and policies that are not fully aligned with the recommendations.

This report reviews national developments on drugged driving, features individual state charts, and summarizes state findings from the 45 jurisdictions (44 states and the District of Columbia) who participated in this project. It also provides background information on each of the recommendations, including relevant recent literature or resources on the topic.

Key Findings

The Overall Summary-Major Trends section of this report, summarizes the alignment with the seven recommendations across the responding states.

Recommendations where the most states aligned were:

  • Implied consent laws should: (a) extend to drugs and support the collection of blood and/or oral fluid for drug testing; (b) include the collection of a specimen or specimens for multiple tests; and (c) should not permit suspects to choose the type of test(s).
  • Authorize and encourage law enforcement officers (LEOs) to collect and test specimens for drugs on all DUI/DUID arrestees (with probable cause and a warrant for a blood test). Even though all LEOs are authorized to, they are not necessarily encouraged to pursue drug testing especially when the BAC is .08 or higher.
  • Authorize and encourage drug testing for all surviving drivers in fatal and serious injury crashes when there is probable cause that impairment was a factor.
  • At a minimum, the administrative penalty (license suspension) for a refusal to provide a specimen for drug testing should be at least as severe as for a first DUID offense.

Recommendations where the least number of states aligned were:

  • Enact laws and/or implement policies mandating drug testing and reporting of the test results for all fatally injured drivers.
  • Update data collection and reporting systems to distinguish among impaired driving offenses (DUI, DUID, and both) in all relevant data (particularly citation data).
  • Electronic warrants should be used to reduce delays in collecting specimens when a warrant is necessary.

As might be expected the most frequent barriers to alignment across recommendations include lack of funding, needed changes to laws and policies, no mandate to drug test and report the results, and lack of stakeholder buy-in. Additionally, an overarching barrier relates to LEAs being discouraged to drug test once a BAC of .08 is established.

Methodology

Researchers reviewed state statutes and surveyed state-based contacts to:

  • Determine whether and how each state complies with seven recommendations related to drugged driving data.
  • Determine the specific changes (e.g., legislative, regulatory, resource, etc.) needed in state policies and practices to attain compliance with recommendations.

Results

Designations by project staff of aligned, partially aligned, or not aligned with the expert panel recommendations were based on the information provided by the respondents.

The limitations of this study include a state response rate of 88% along with two key issues:

  • Variability among the state contact responses in terms of comprehensiveness and completeness;
  • Variability in the number and type of contributors for each state.

Despite limitations, this report can be used by states and other stakeholders to assess a state’s needs and potential steps to improve drugged driving data, as well as learn from experiences described by other states.

 

Suggested Citation

For media inquiries, contact:

Jeanette Casselano
202-942-2072
JCasselano@national.aaa.com

Authors

Eileen P. Taylor

A. Scott McKnight

Ryan Treffers