trafficThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released several new recommendations as part of a continuing emphasis on substance-impaired driving, which it calls, “the biggest killer on our roadways.” The recommendations focus on three areas: better alcohol testing, better drug testing and identifying the “place of last drink.”

Although over 10,000 lives are lost each year in substance impaired driving crashes, some states provide little or no data to the national calculation. Further, while there is significant evidence that illegal drugs, over-the-counter and prescription medications are playing a greater role in roadway crashes, there are no standards or testing criteria for these substances. To address these shortcomings, the NTSB recommends that states develop better blood alcohol concentration testing and reporting guidelines; agree on a common standard of practice for drug toxicology testing; and increase their collection, documentation and reporting of test results.

The collection of place of last drink (POLD) data could focus training and enforcement actions on establishments that are serving under-age or intoxicated patrons. By collecting information on POLD, law enforcement officers provide a way to target establishments for effective interventions.

“Better data leads to better interventions and results in more lives saved,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman of the NTSB. “Collecting information on the “place of last drink” can serve as an incentive for alcohol-serving establishments to better train their employees in recognizing under-age or intoxicated patrons.”

Substance-Impaired Driving is one of 10 issues on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List.

Links to the safety recommendations are provided below.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

45 states, Puerto Rico and DC:

Alaska, Maine, Montana, Nebraska and New Mexico

International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriff’s Association