The highway safety offices for Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Texas will receive grants totaling nearly $80,000 to help combat drug-impaired driving, the Governors Highway Safety Association announced.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org), a not-for-profit group funded by the distillery industry, is providing financial support for the project.
The four highway safety offices will use the funding to train law enforcement officers to detect drivers impaired by marijuana and other drugs. Twenty-two states and territories applied for these competitive grants, according to GHSA. A selection committee reviewed the applications and determined the winners.
“One of the key recommendations in our 2015 report on drug-impaired driving was to provide training for law enforcement officers that will empower them to identify and arrest drug-impaired drivers,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “This new program delivers the much-needed resources that will help states do just that.”
Specifically, Texas and Nevada will use their funds to reach rural agencies that often don’t have access to this training. Florida and Illinois will expand their existing programs and lay the groundwork for long-term training.
At the end of this year, collectively this program will provide training and certification to nearly 70 new drug recognition experts (DREs) and certify more than 410 law enforcement officials in advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement, according to GHSA.
“Recent data suggests that impaired driving — whether the driver is drugged, drunk, drowsy or distracted — is a growing concern. Increased training for law enforcement officers is more important than ever in addressing this challenge,” said Ralph S. Blackman, president and CEO of Responsibility.org. “That's why Responsibility.org is proud to sponsor this law enforcement training initiative.”
In addition to GHSA and Responsibility.org, other selection committee members and advisors for this project include senior leadership from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Washington Traffic Safety Commission.