The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded more than $100,000 in grant funding to states through the Governors Highway Safety Association to help combat drug-impaired driving on America’s roads.
The funding will support Drug Recognition Expert and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement training in Delaware, Guam, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, which will increase the number of officers in these jurisdictions trained to recognize drivers who are impaired by drugs, including opioids and marijuana. The courses will train law enforcement officers to observe, identify, and articulate the signs of impairment related to drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both in order to reduce the number of impaired drivers and traffic crashes. The International Association of Chiefs of Police manages the training program through a cooperative agreement with NHTSA.
First line of defense
“Law enforcement is the first line of defense when it comes to removing impaired drivers from our roads and protecting the traveling public,” said Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King. “Ensuring that law enforcement officers are properly trained to recognize and handle drug-impaired drivers is a direct investment in safety. This grant is one more way in which the Department of Transportation is helping our state and local partners address this risk to the traveling public.”
The grant supplements DRE and ARIDE funding awarded earlier this year by GHSA and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) to Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The award from NHTSA ensures that all 11 applicants receive funding. The grant money must be spent by the end of the 2019 fiscal year.
"You Drive Different"
The grant announcement follows several events held by NHTSA to highlight the dangers of drug-impaired driving, including a call-to-action that was held in Washington, DC, in March and a series of regional meetings across the country. For the first time, the agency’s annual winter impaired-driving campaign, which began December 13 and will run through December 31, will include a drug-impairment message: “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI.”