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Office of Traffic Safety

Drug-Impaired Driving

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.


  • To decrease the average response time for the arrival of appropriate equipment at collision sites in rural areas


Drug Recognition Evaluators
The CHP continued their statewide DRE project, training law enforcement officers, as well as other pertinent members of the community, on drug recognition and impairment. There were 11 DITEP courses conducted, which trained 347 educational professionals. A total of 96 ARIDE classes were conducted, training 1,808 CHP and allied agency personnel. This is a 39 percent increase of ARIDE classes conducted and a 32 percent increase of personnel trained from the previous year. There were 80 SFST classes facilitated, certifying 1,623 officers for a 53 percent increase in the number of officers SFST certified from the previous year. Additionally, a total of 404 new DREs were certified, which resulted in a 21 percent increase in the number of DREs certified from the previous year. The CHP Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP) assisted DREs from Alaska, Kansas, New Mexico, American Samoa, and Guam. The DECP staff trained and certified several officers as DREs and DRE instructors from these states and territories.

The Ventura County Drugged Driving “Risks & Realities” Campaign
Ventura County Behavioral Health’s “Risks and Realities” campaign was the first of its kind funded OTS program, aimed at preventing drug-impaired driving by altering social norms and shifting the perception of danger. The campaign was developed using local data to educate the public about the reality of the changing landscape of impaired driving. Ventura County Behavioral Health created targeted media campaigns tailored for specific demographics. Working with county agencies, prevention advocates, and OTS; adaptive campaign messaging was produced to focus on young adults, parents of teenage children, and older adults. The messaging aided in sparking conversations about driving under the influence of marijuana, prescription, and illicit drugs, as well as combination with alcohol. The campaign was disseminated over traditional and social media, as well as through public forums and community presentations.