The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recently launched a new program that will provide $2.3 million in funding for state and local agencies to offer Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and Drug Recognition to law enforcement officers, judges and prosecutors.
Designed to help battle drug-impaired driving on the nation’s highways and byways, the training courses will begin later this year.
Specifically, participants in the training will learn to observe, identify and articulate signs of impairment related to drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. The goal of the program is to aid officers and all stakeholders in reducing the number of impaired motorists on the road and ultimately, lower the number of collisions and fatalities.
In 2017, 21.4 million people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year and 12.8 million drove under the influence of illicit drugs, according to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
In 2017 alone, 10,874 people lost their lives in crashes that involved drunk driving, according to NHTSA data.
Moreover, the Governors Highway Safety Association found that 43.6% of fatally injured drivers in 2016 tested positive for drugs and over half of those drivers were positive for two or more drugs.
This latest initiative on the part of NHTSA and IACP was developed to help combat the crisis of driver impairment. The grant program builds on NHTSA’s efforts to educate drivers about the hazards of drug-impaired driving including a Summit held in Washington D.C. in March 2018, a series of regional meetings nationwide, and a public service announcement campaign launched in April and targeted directly to drivers.
The IACP will manage the new grant program through a cooperative program with NHTSA.