The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) published research detailing issues and solutions related to marijuana-impaired driving, a top safety research priority identified by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) in 2018. With more states legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana, professional truck drivers are more likely to be sharing the roadway with car drivers operating under the influence of marijuana.
ATRI’s research sought to document the most promising methods to identify and deter marijuana-impaired driving. The study recommends: increased data collection on the frequency and impacts of marijuana-impaired driving; public education and information on the risks of impaired driving; better equipping law enforcement and the court system to intercept and ultimately prosecute impaired drivers; and targeting tax revenue generated from marijuana sales to fund these activities.
“It is extremely concerning to motor carriers and our drivers that recreational marijuana is legal in so many states, yet as the ATRI report documents, a valid and widely accepted breathalyzer-type test is not available to law enforcement,” said Mike Card, Combined Transport, Inc. President. “ATRI’s study clearly defines a role for federal and state leaders to support law enforcement and others in keeping the roadways safe from those who choose to drive high.”
In particular, the report highlights the importance of training law enforcement to identify and collect evidence of marijuana-impaired driving, particularly through the development of more drug recognition experts (DREs).
“As ATRI’s research identifies, a key tool for combating drugged drivers is deploying additional drug recognition experts,” said Mark Savage, Deputy Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “A DRE can bring critical evidence to prosecutors that other tests simply cannot measure.”
A copy of this report is available here.