GHSA and Responsibility.org Award Grants to Address Drug-Impaired Driving

Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont will receive nearly $100,000 to provide training, information, and skills to detect drivers under the influence of drugs.

For the third year in a row, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) are awarding grants to help states combat the growing challenge of drug-impaired driving. Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont will receive nearly $100,000 to provide training, information, and skills to detect drivers under the influence of drugs.

This year’s grants follow a new report from GHSA and Responsibility.org about the impact of marijuana and opioids on driving ability and safety. The report found that among drug-tested fatally-injured drivers in 2016, 38 percent tested positive for some form of marijuana, 16 percent tested positive for opioids, and 4 percent tested positive for both substances.

New York will use this grant to develop a training on oral fluid testing in drug-impaired driving cases. The training will target law enforcement, prosecutors, and toxicologists to encourage use of oral fluid testing in New York’s drug-impaired driving investigations.

“The lack of a universally-accepted testing method for drug impairment makes it difficult to understand the full scale of the drugged driving problem,” GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said. “Integrating oral fluid testing has tremendous potential to improve detection, and we hope New York’s training will serve as a model for other states to take this step.”

Idaho’s grant will support three Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) courses and an Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) course. Rhode Island will hold two ARIDE courses in 2018 and an additional four next year. Vermont plants to use its grant to expand its existing DRE and ARIDe training programs to reach more law enforcement officers, and Minnesota will focus on expanding its DRE training across a larger geographic area.

“Law enforcement officers are our boots on the ground when it comes to ending impaired driving,” said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of Responsibility.org. “More frequently we’re seeing drivers not only impaired by one drug but by multiple drugs or both drugs and alcohol. We need to make sure officers are able to detect and evaluate these drivers, which is why Responsibility.org is proud to continue supporting state efforts to expand and enhance training.”

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