According to the 2013-2014 NHTSA National Roadside Survey, 22.5 percent of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs that could cause driving impairment. More than 15 percent tested positive for illicit drugs, and more than 12 percent tested positive for THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which is a 4 percent increase from the 2007 survey. An additional 2009 NHTSA study tested fatally injured drivers and found that nationally 18 percent tested positive for at least one illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter drug. This is an increase from a 2005 NHTSA study that found that 13 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one drug type. The study also found that 23 percent of California’s 1,678 fatally injured drivers in 2009 tested positive for drugs. OTS grants have provided increased officer training in the NHTSA Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) programs, which has lead to better detection of drug-impaired drivers. OTS grants also have funded vertical prosecution programs for drug-impaired driving cases.
DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVING PROGRAM AREA GOALS
- Provide increased training to law enforcement to identify drug-impaired drivers.
2017 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTSCalifornia Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Training Network
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) continued its partnership with OTS to develop multiple subject matter experts in the management of impaired-driving cases. The OCDA vertical prosecution trial team reviewed and filed hundreds of impaired-driving cases, and secured convictions on over one hundred drug-related charges. A Southern California Training Network was established as well, through which training materials were shared to provide thorough and timely responses to inquiries related to impaired-driving investigations from both prosecutors and law enforcement. OCDA also hosted a four-day traffic college course for prosecutors and law enforcement, which focused on various aspects of traffic safety.
Drug Recognition Evaluator Program
The CHP continued their statewide DRE project, training law enforcement officers and other pertinent members of the community on drug recognition and impairment. The training programs conducted included 14 DITEP courses in which 267 educational professionals were trained, 284 ARIDE classes in which 4,613 CHP and allied agency personnel were trained, and 77 SFST classes in which 1,440 officers were certified. Additionally, a total of 414 new DREs were certified. The CHP Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP) supported DREs from Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Washington, and Wyoming. The DECP staff assisted with the training and certification of officers as DREs and DRE instructors from these states.
Standards And Training In Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs Toxicology
The Orange County Crime Laboratory’s Standards and Training project provided training and resource opportunities to forensic toxicologists. The laboratory developed curriculum, coordinated expert instructors from around the state and country, and provided workshops in the areas of method development and DUID expert testimony. In total, over 100 individuals attended the method development workshops and over 80 individuals attended the expert testimony workshops. In addition to training toxicologists, the laboratory organized a statewide meeting with representatives from toxicology laboratories throughout the state. This collaboration resulted in the development of standards of practice for California’s public DUID Toxicology laboratories, therefore establishing a framework of minimum testing protocol standards that all laboratories should aim to achieve.