In the ongoing campaign to combat drug-impaired driving on our roads, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced today that it has awarded over $100,000 in grants to states through the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The funding will support Drug Recognition Expert and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement training in Delaware, Guam, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and West Virginia. The funds will boost the number of officers who are trained to recognize drivers who are impaired by drugs, including opioids and marijuana.
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Specifically, the courses will train “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.
“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 that was awarded earlier this year by GHSA and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility to Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. The NHTSA award ensures that all 11 applicants receive funding. The grant money must be spent by the end of the 2019 fiscal year.
Today’s 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, D.C., in March, and several regional meetings. For the first time, NHTSA’s annual winter impaired-driving campaign, which is Dec. 13-31, will include a drug-impairment message: “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI.”