Combating the Dramatic Increase in Drug-Impaired Driving Offenses

Adopted at the 119th Annual Conference

San Diego, CA
October 3, 2012 

Combating the Dramatic Increase in Drug-Impaired Driving Offenses
Submitted by: Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Committee
NDD.012.a12 

WHEREAS, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (“IACP”) recognizes that drug-impaired driving constitutes a significant law enforcement and societal problem; and 

 WHEREAS, according to the “Drugged Driving Research: A White Paper,” prepared for the National Institute on Drug Abuse by the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc., within the United States, drugs other than alcohol are involved in approximately 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths; and 

 WHEREAS, the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy outlined a policy focus for a 10 percent reduction in drugged driving by 2015; and 

WHEREAS, an estimated $59.9 billion in costs are attributable to drugged driving; and 

WHEREAS, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration marijuana accounted for 70 percent of illicit drugs used by drivers; and 

WHEREAS, studies by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Dutch Ministry of Transport concluded that the effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, significantly impairs drivers and makes them more likely to fall asleep at the wheel; and 

WHEREAS, preventing citizens from operating motor vehicles while under the influence of drugs is critical to public safety; however, there is no consistent method for identifying drug impairment and the presence of drugs in the body; and 

WHEREAS, drug-impaired drivers are less frequently detected, prosecuted, or referred to treatment than drunk drivers because few police officers are trained to detect drug impairment and prosecutors lack a clear legal standard under which to prove drugged driving cases; and 

WHEREAS, the “Policy Focus: Reducing Drugged Driving” section of the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy recommends five strategies to address this growing problem: 1) encourage states to apply the per se standard used for commercial drivers to drivers impaired by illegal drugs and the impairment standard used for intoxicated drivers to other drug-impaired drivers; 2) collect further data through more consistent use of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (“FARS”) and more frequently conducted National Roadside Surveys; 3) educating communities and professionals—particularly new drivers, drivers on prescription drugs, and medical professionals—about drugged driving risks and legal consequences; 4) implementing the Drug Evaluation and Classification (“DRE”) program across jurisdictions so that law enforcement is uniformly trained to detect drugged drivers; and 5) developing standard laboratory screening methodologies and further researching oral fluid testing to determine if it constitutes a reliable and widely-available roadside test; now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, that the IACP recommends adopting the strategies outlined in the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy to address this significant public safety issue.