The Issue

The Issue

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving: The only crime where an investigation ceases once minimal evidence is obtained.

Alcohol-impaired driving has been a problem for more than 40 years. It accounts for about 30% of traffic deaths annually in the US.

Drug-impaired driving is a growing problem and multiple substance impaired driving has evolved as a very common occurrence with a multiplicative crash risk.

However, drug and multiple substance-impaired drivers often go undetected due to this being underreported and policies that preclude additional drug testing in DUI cases. That must change.

Many state policies and protocols prevent drug testing if an impaired driver is at or above the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit.

Drug use is usually only investigated when alcohol is not an impairment factor or when impairment does not correspond with the driver’s BAC level.

In 2020, traffic deaths increased 7% while vehicle miles traveled decreased 13%. (Source NHTSA, 2021)

Our nation must double down on its efforts to stop drunk driving while also tackling drug and multiple substance impaired driving. Lives depend on it.

See NASID’s proposed solutions.

One in three Americans now lives in an area where cannabis consumption is legal. Additionally, greater use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, an ongoing opioid epidemic, and continued challenges with eliminating alcohol-impaired create a new and very dangerous road risk: Drivers impaired by multiple substances.

Driving impaired by one substance is dangerous but when substances are combined, there is a multiplicative effect on driver impairment. People who drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs are up to 200 times more likely to be involved in a crash (Shulze et al., 2012; Griffiths, 2014).

How often do people drive impaired by multiple substances?

According to FARS data, in 2016, 50.5% of fatally-injured drug-positive drivers (with known drug test results) were positive for two or more drugs and 40.7% were found to have alcohol in their system (FARS as cited in Hedlund, 2018).

Recent data from Washington State revealed that multi-substance impairment was the most common type of impairment found among drivers involved in fatal crashes between 2008 and 2016 (Grondel et al., 2018). In fact, among drivers involved in fatal crashes during this timeframe, 44% tested positive for two or more substances with alcohol and THC being the most common combination (Grondel et al., 2018).

In an analysis of 2017 DUI case data, the Colorado Department of Public Safety reported a significant number of multi-substance cases but cautioned that the figures are likely an underrepresentation of the magnitude of the problem due to limited drug testing in cases where alcohol is present. In 2017, 13.6% (2,362) of cases with toxicology results had more than one drug present. In multi-substance cases, 40.6% (958) involved a combination of alcohol and cannabis and 18.9% (447) involved cannabis and an additional drug. A further 10.6% (251) of multi-substance cases involved a combination of alcohol, cannabis, and at least one other drug (Bui & Reed, 2019).

According to data reported by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA), in 2018 drivers who were involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for cannabis were far more likely to test positive for multiple substances as opposed to cannabis alone. In fact, 35% of these drivers tested positive for cannabis and alcohol, 29% tested positive for cannabis and other drugs, and 11% tested positive for a combination of cannabis, alcohol, and other drugs (RMHIDTA, 2019). This means that 75% of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for cannabis had multiple substances in their systems at the time of the crash.

The Driving under the Influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Medicines (DRUID) project of the European Commission identified the relative crash risk associated with various categories of drugs. The researchers found that the use of multiple drugs produces a ‘highly increased crash risk’ and the combination of alcohol and drugs produces an ‘extremely increased crash risk.’ According to this research, individuals who drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs are up to 200 times more likely to be involved in a crash (Shulze et al., 2012; Griffiths, 2014).

2020 data from the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) shows approximately 34% of all DRE enforcement evaluations (11,196 cases out of 32,821 cases) included an opinion of multi-substance impairment. (IACP,2020).

NASID Conference Speaker Bios

NASID Conference Speaker Biographies

Jonathan Adkins

Jonathan Adkins was named Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) in 2014. GHSA is the national nonprofit that represents state highway safety agencies. GHSA members are charged with implementing their governors’ highway safety plans and administering federal behavioral highway safety funds.

Adkins is responsible for directing the organization’s Washington Headquarters office, serving as the association’s chief liaison with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other federal agencies, and representing the organization on Capitol Hill and with private sector partners. He frequently represents the states’ viewpoints on highway safety solutions in the media and before Congress, federal agencies and industry partners. Adkins is regularly quoted by a variety of publications, including Politico, USA TODAY and The Washington Post.

During Adkins’ tenure as Executive Director, GHSA has expanded its scope and influence by adding new programs, member services and staff. Adkins has built partnerships with a variety of leading organizations in the automotive, insurance and consumer products industries, and has leveraged those relationships to develop tools for state highway safety agencies. Adkins also launched the GHSA’s Consulting Services Initiative, through which the organization assists states in managing their highway safety programs.

Adkins began his work with GHSA in 2000. Prior to being named Executive Director, he served as GHSA’s Communications Director as well as Deputy Executive Director. Adkins has served on a variety of boards and in appointed roles within highway safety and the broader community, including the National Organizations for Youth Safety, The Road to Zero Coalition and the National Lifesavers Conference.

Adkins holds a political science degree from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.

Shelly Baldwin

Governor Jay Inslee appointed Shelly Baldwin as Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission in February 2021. Ms. Baldwin is the first woman to serve as Director of the Traffic Safety Commission since its formation in 1967. Ms. Baldwin has worked in Traffic Safety in various roles for more than 25 years, and has a deep commitment to partnerships, inclusiveness, multicultural engagement, and proactive traffic safety culture.

Jayme Derbyshire

Jayme Derbyshire is a eighteen-year veteran with the Montgomery County Department of Police in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She is currently assigned to the Traffic Division as the Coordinator of the Chemical Test for Alcohol Unit. She is credited for implementing one of the first police-hosted Cannabis Impairment Detection Labs. She began as the training coordinator for these labs in 2018, shortly after Maryland began licensing dispensaries statewide for medicinal marijuana. Since that time, she has trained hundreds of officers, a number of prosecutors, and various community members throughout Maryland on the hazards of driving while under the influence of cannabis and on how to best recognize indicators of cannabis impairment. Officer Derbyshire has presented about cannabis labs on the local and national stage, offered testimony in front of the Maryland General Assembly regarding impaired driving, and has worked closely with the cannabis community to help establish a cooperative learning relationship between law enforcement and cannabis consumers.

Jennifer Huebner Davidson

Jennifer is a Highway Safety Specialist in the Impaired Driving Division of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). She is responsible for drug-impaired driving program development and oversight including law enforcement phlebotomy, ignition interlock programs, state highway safety program assessments and teaches impaired driving prevention courses nationally. In addition, she worked on the development of a state criminal justice capacity self-evaluation for states and local communities to gauge where they are in their current ability to address drug-impairment and resources to strengthen community programs. Jennifer also provides support to NHTSA’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaigns, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and state leadership summits.

Prior to coming to NHTSA, Jennifer served as manager of traffic safety advocacy for AAA for 17 years where she oversaw curriculum development, campaign execution, programmatic efforts, marketing initiatives, training and evaluation for the association on a variety of highway safety issues including impaired driving, driver education and school safety patrol. While at AAA, Jennifer cultivated many successful partnerships reaching more than 55 million motorists for several national safety initiatives. She has authored a variety of educational materials including national curriculum and campaign materials and has published contributions in textbooks and public health journals. Jennifer has been featured as a traffic safety expert on national radio tours, on the Today Show and in Parents Magazine, Parade Magazine, Reader’s Digest, USA Today and various media outlets over the years.

With a background in public health and more than 22 years of experience in traffic safety, Jennifer brings a passion for traffic safety issues and a desire to see evidenced-based programs bring about behavioral change in individuals.

Christine Frank

Christine Frank is a highway Safety Specialist with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) overseeing several highway safety initiatives. Prior to this position, she worked at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as the program manager for the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP).

She is a retired 20-year law enforcement veteran of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) where she held numerous positions while serving as the program manager for the Drug Recognition Program (DRE) for the State of New Mexico. She became a certified DRE in 1997, DRE Instructor in 2001 and has held positions within the DRE Program, such as Chair of the IACP DRE section. She has presented at numerous national conferences on topics including, improving police training and a variety of impaired driving issues. She has co-authored the training program, “Critical Decision Making in Encounters with the Mentally Ill and Highly Intoxicated” and authored articles relevant to impaired driving topics.

Christine earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University, and a master’s degree in Education from Wayland Baptist University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at Drexel University in Leadership and Education.

Michael Hanson

Michael Hanson was elected Treasurer of GHSA in 2020. He currently serves as the Director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. Mr. Hanson is also the designated Governor’s Representative for Highway Safety. Prior to his appointment as the Director of the Office of Traffic Safety in 2017, he served with the Minnesota State Patrol for 33 years retiring at the Rank of Captain. Mike and his wife of 33 years Traci live in the Minneapolis suburban area and have two grown sons and 2 grandsons.

Jennifer Harmon

Jennifer is currently the Crime Laboratory Director for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Regional Crime Lab overseeing a staff of nearly 80 in nine forensic disciplines and multiple budgets in excess of a total of $24M. She completed her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science in Biology, option in Physiology, double minor in Chemistry and Political Science from California State University at Long Beach in 2001 and in 2018 obtained a Master’s in Public Administration from Brandman University. She began her career in forensics as a volunteer intern with the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department, Coroner Division, and the Orange County Crime Laboratory. Jennifer has more than 13 years of crime lab management and leadership experience with her most recent prior position as the Orange County Crime Laboratory’s Assistant Director over the Forensic Chemistry Bureau. In that position, Jennifer, oversaw Toxicology, Forensic Alcohol, Controlled Substances, and Clandestine Laboratory Field Investigation operations. She additionally managed the laboratory’s Evidence Control Unit for more than one year. Under Jennifer’s leadership, the Orange County Crime Laboratory’s Forensic Chemistry Bureau incorporated Lean Six Sigma process improvements, obtained more than $2.5M in grant funding from state and federal partners, and developed and implemented state-of-the-art technology and forensic methodology. Her work of more than 9 years with ANAB, the forensic laboratories’ accreditation body, as a technical assessor in both testing and calibration, along with her facilitation commitments with the County of Orange’s servant leadership program helped support these efforts.

Jennifer is a technical expert in both postmortem and ante-mortem toxicology. She has participated in numerous controlled drinking studies and ride-a-longs with several state and local law enforcement agencies. She has also audited the Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE) Program and observed evaluations with the California Highway Patrol of individuals suspected to being under the influence of drugs. She has testified in nearly 200 cases involving drugs, alcohol and poly-drug use. Jennifer has presented for numerous professional organizations at the local, state, and national level including the California District Attorneys Association, Governors Highway Safety Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Indiana University’s Borkenstein Drug Course, the National Governors Association, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. She is the current past president of the California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors, a past president of the California Association of Toxicologists, is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Drug Evaluation and Classification Program’s Technical Advisory Panel and has testified in front of the California State Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committees as well as the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Digital Commerce. In 2018, Jennifer was the recipient of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Public Service Award for her work in improving forensic drug testing and screening in California.

Curt E. Harper

Dr. Curt E. Harper has over 13 years of experience as a Forensic Toxicologist. He was appointed Chief Toxicologist for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS) in 2012. As Chief Toxicologist, he oversees technical operations, method development and validation, and the quality assurance/quality control program, manages productivity, serves as training coordinator, and develops and maintains standard operating procedures. Dr. Harper has a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology and a Master’s of Science in Forensic Science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He holds board certification as a Fellow of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (F- ABFT) and serves as Chair of the SOFT/AAFS Drugs and Driving and Vice Chair of the Oral Fluid Committees. In addition, he acts as a Vice President for the International Association for Chemical Testing (IACT) and member of the National Safety Council’s Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division (NSC-ADID). Dr. Harper serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the Department of Justice Sciences, adjunct professor at Oklahoma State University within the School of Forensic Sciences, and faculty for the Borkenstein Alcohol Course at Indiana University. His interests include oral fluid drug testing, DUI/D testing and interpretation, and drug facilitated crimes. ADFS is the first state crime laboratory to implement a comprehensive DUI/D oral fluid drug testing program in the United States. As an Alabama Peace Officer, Dr. Harper has been certified as a Drug Recognition Expert since 2015 and acts as a member of the Alabama Impaired Driving Prevention Council. Prior to his appointment as Chief Toxicologist at ADFS, he served as Toxicology Supervisor in Richmond for the Virginia Department of Forensic Science for two years. Dr. Harper has testified on the effects of alcohol and other drugs in over 200 criminal or civil cases during his tenure in Alabama and Virginia.

Jill Ingrassia

As Executive Director, Advocacy & Communications, Jill directs federal and state government relations and traffic safety advocacy, policy and programs for AAA, as well as leading internal and external communications efforts. She manages a staff of policy and public health professionals and oversees the development and implementation of public policy strategy of concern to AAA members and AAA business operations, including mobility and transportation safety, energy, and consumer automotive issues.

Throughout her 24 years with AAA, Jill has worked on a number of comprehensive initiatives to address distracted driving and impaired driving, improve teen and senior driver safety, and advocate for transportation funding and innovation. She has represented AAA on a number of coalitions with national transportation and safety organizations, including service as Chairman of the ITS America Board of Directors, membership on the Transportation Safety Advancement Group, service on the steering committee of the Road to Zero coalition, and 2008 Chairman of The Road Gang, an affiliation of transportation professionals based in Washington, DC. She also serves on the Board of the Public Affairs Council.

Before joining AAA, Ingrassia worked as legislative assistant to former Governor and U.S. Senator Jim Exon of Nebraska. She holds a B.A. from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Spanish and Global Studies.

Jennifer Knudsen

Jennifer Knudsen is Colorado’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (TSRP). She works for the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, which represents Colorado’s elected district attorneys. She graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Arts in political science (Departmental Honors with Distinction and University Honors) and the University of Colorado School of Law where she earned a juris doctorate and certificate in taxation.

Ms. Knudsen started her career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Stephen M. Munsinger (retired) and Brian D. Boatright in the First Judicial District in Golden, Colorado. She first became a prosecutor in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties in the Eighteenth Judicial District District Attorney’s Office. As an Assistant Attorney General, she represented the Directors of Tax Compliance and Enforcement; the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board; Liquor Enforcement, Division of Motor Vehicles; and Port of Entry at the Colorado Department of Revenue. She has handled other traffic safety matters on a state and local level in private practice and legal counsel to law enforcement.

As TSRP, she produces training programs to tackle cutting edge issues in the area of impaired driving for prosecutors, law enforcement, and other prosecutorial partners. She also acts as a resource to traffic safety professionals in-state and nationwide, produces and edits the Colorado’s Prosecutors DUI Manual, works on state and federal legislation related to traffic safety issues, and oversees the maintenance and creation of online resources for Colorado’s prosecutors. She is also a member of the Colorado DRE Advisory Committee and the MADD Law Enforcement Awards Selection Committee.

Ms. Knudsen is a co-author of Strategies for Prosecuting DWI Cases, which was published during the summer of 2016 by Aspatore (a division of Thomson Reuters). She has also sat on a panel of experts for a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Evaluation & Classification Program assessment for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. She was awarded the 2018 Kevin E. Quinlan Award for Excellence in Traffic Safety.

Bill Lindsey

Mr. Bill Lindsey has over 13 years of experience as a prosecutor for the State of Alabama. He was appointed Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (TSRP) for the State of Alabama in 2015. He works for the Office of Prosecution Services (OPS) and provides education and resources on traffic-related issues to judges, law enforcement, prosecutors, other traffic safety professionals, and the public at-large.

Mr. Lindsey received his B. A. in Political Science from the University of Mississippi and his J. D. from the University of Alabama. Prior to his appointment as TSRP, Mr. Lindsey served as a Deputy District Attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit of Alabama (Tuscaloosa County) for almost 10 years. He also worked for the Alabama Law Institute in Montgomery for 2 years as Assistant to the Executive Director.

Mr. Lindsey actively serves as a liaison between judges, law enforcement, prosecutors, the Alabama Department of Economic & Community Affairs (ADECA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). He conducts trainings throughout the state on a variety of legal topics, with a special emphasis on traffic-related impairment issues. He serves as chairman of the Alabama Impaired Driving Prevention Council and the Alabama Traffic Safety Resource Council. He is also a member of the Alabama Chemical Testing, Training, and Equipment Trust Fund Advisory Board. In addition, Mr. Lindsey serves as an adjunct instructor at the University of Alabama – Birmingham.

Russ Martin

Russ Martin is Senior Director of Policy and Government Relations for GHSA. He represents the State Highway Safety Offices before federal agencies and Congress to assist states as they work to address highway safety issues and improve the delivery of federal and state safety programs. Martin also works closely with partner organizations to improve road safety and promote GHSA objectives.

Martin is a national expert on behavioral traffic safety issues and directs GHSA’s engagement on emerging vehicle technology. He has managed research projects for GHSA on drugged driving, speeding and automated vehicles. Martin has also spoken in national and local forums and has served as a spokesperson on a variety of traffic safety issues, including distracted driving, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety and first responder safety.

Martin manages the planning of the policy content of GHSA’s Annual Meeting. He also plans and serves as a faculty member for GHSA’s Executive Seminar for Program Management.

Prior to joining GHSA in 2017, Martin was Manager of State Relations at AAA, where he spent over eight years supporting AAA’s network of motor clubs to advocate on behalf of AAA members on traffic safety, vehicle technology and motorists’ rights. At AAA, Martin managed a number of special projects, including the “AAA Digest of Motor Laws,” research on older-driver safety and the future of transportation.

Martin is a native of Virginia and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from James Madison University.

Amy Miles

Amy Miles is the Director of the Forensic Toxicology Program at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) and has over 20 years of experience in forensic toxicology. In addition to managing the Forensic Toxicology Program, Amy provides expert court testimony and interpretation of laboratory reports for coroners, medical examiners, attorneys and law enforcement officers. Amy also provides expert consultation for drug impaired driving cases both locally and nationally. Amy attended the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) school held in Wisconsin in 2004 and provides training and support for the DRE program not only Wisconsin but all across the country. In 2005 Amy received an award from Citizens Against Drug Impaired Drivers (CANDID) for her outstanding dedication to the DRE program. In the spring of 2017, Amy was awarded the DRE Emeritus Award from the Wisconsin DRE Program for her over 12 years of leadership and dedication to the DREs of Wisconsin. From 2011-2019, Amy was the toxicology representative on the IACP DRE Technical Advisory Panel. In 2020, through a partnership between and the WSLH, Amy became the first National Resource Toxicologist. In this role, Amy provides support for toxicology laboratories across the country and is a resource for attorneys, judges and law enforcement.

Amy has given hundreds of presentations on the topic of drugs, alcohol and human performance at state and national conferences and in-service trainings and has contributed several newsletter articles to national publications. Amy is a faculty member of the Robert F. Borkenstein Course: The Effects of Drugs on Human Performance. Amy has been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as a Guest Faculty member of the Illinois Judicial Conference Committee on Education. In 2016, Amy testified in front of the Canadian Parliament regarding proposed laws pertaining to drug impaired driving. She is a member of several professional organizations and committees that pertain to alcohol, drugs and human performance. Amy is an Associate for the Justice Speakers Institute and is the President for the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. In 2019, Amy received the Public Service Award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and in 2020 she received the IACP DRE Ambassador award.

Christine Moore

Christine Moore is currently the President of 9-Delta Analytical LLC, a toxicology laboratory analyzing drugs and alcohol in blood and oral fluid. She is the former Chief Toxicologist in the Rapid Diagnostics Division of Abbott, having retired at the end of March 2021. Dr. Moore has a BSc degree in Applied Chemistry, a Masters’ degree in Forensic Science, a PhD and a DSc in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Association of Clinical Chemistry. She has over 120 peer-reviewed publications regarding the analysis of drugs in different biological samples.

Matt Myers

Matt Myers is the Assistant Chief of Police for the Peachtree City, Georgia, Police Department, as well as a seasoned DRE Instructor. Matt serves as a member of IACP’s Highway Safety Committee and the DRE Technical Advisory Panel, which oversees the program’s scientific direction, curriculum, and standards. He is also the Past Chair of the IACP DRE Section, and a member of the National Safety Council’s Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Toxicology Standards Board. Beyond his experience as a DRE, Matt has significant education in the fields of pharmacology and toxicology from institutions such as the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, and the Harvard Medical School Extension. He is a widely recognized instructor and expert witness on issues regarding drugs and human performance impairment and has worked extensively as a consultant on impaired driving litigation. He also acts as a policy advisor to multiple organizations on matters of drug impairment and related legislation.

Jake Nelson

In his current role as Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research for AAA, Jake is an influential communicator who provides thought leadership on issues related to traffic injury prevention. From interpreting fatal crash statistics to assessing solutions to keeping drivers safe, Jake excels at translating complex research into evidence-based policies, research-validated interventions, and easy-to-understand language for the media. Jake has been featured in a variety of national media outlets, from USA Today and the New York Times to appearances on NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s World News Tonight, and The Dr. Oz Show.

As an epidemiologist, Jake considers traffic injuries and deaths an overlooked public health threat to Americans. He applies rigorous research and the sciences of public health to AAA’s public policy development, governmental advocacy and consumer education activities. Jake has developed nationwide advocacy strategies, brokered national partnerships and negotiated strategic alliances to influence consumers and policymakers in an effort to protect those who travel U.S. roads each day.

As the Association’s chief safety expert, Jake regularly works with transportation stakeholder groups, public health practitioners and elected officials at all levels of government. He frequently represents the AAA federation before state policy audiences, Congress and U.S. federal agencies, to persuasively state the case for AAA’s public policy recommendations and evidence-based interventions.

Inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, Jake is a Mid-American Public Health Leadership Fellow alumnus and a member of the National Public Health Leadership Society. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, completed his graduate studies in public health at the George Washington University, and in public policy at the University of Chicago. While in Chicago, he was named a McCormick Tribune Leadership Fellow. Jake also holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University and has completed the Leadership Development Program through Eckerd College and the Center for Creative Leadership- the largest and most respected global program of its kind.

Prior to joining AAA, Jake managed a state-certified health department in the Chicago area where he directed public health education campaigns, a portfolio of governmental grant work, health-focused research and public health policy support for state and local policymakers. He advised on a wide range of issues from HIV prevention and childhood obesity, to the prevention of substance abuse and heart disease.

Though he began his career as a researcher in the medical field, Jake shifted his focus to applying research to policy development, and honed his skills in the real-world application of data and rigorous academic research to protect and improve the public’s health, and to help people reach their full potential.

David Ocamb

As Chief Research Officer for GDC Marketing and Ideation, David Ocamb represents the end consumer at the agency and fiercely advocates to ensure all campaign messaging and activities are designed and executed to inspire change in their beliefs and behaviors. In this role, he oversees all research projects (both quantitative and qualitative) and studies these results, as well as all other available data to uncover insights. At GDC, his work has included research projects in the traffic safety, hospitals and healthcare, education, banking, voter education, retail, restaurants, public utilities and countless other sectors. Specific to traffic safety, David has presented research findings at conferences related to alcohol impaired driving, prescription drug impaired driving and marijuana impaired driving. David lives in the Washington DC area with his wife and their toddler son and two pointer dogs.

Karen Sprattler

Karen Sprattler is a nationally recognized behavioral highway safety expert who has worked in the field of transportation safety for more than 30 years. Focusing on driver behavior and traffic safety, she has evaluated, developed, managed and advocated for various data driven traffic safety policies, programs, and countermeasures in her previous work with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as National Director of Public Policy for MADD, and as a safety practice builder at SRF Consulting and the Sprattler Group before joining Kimley Horn. Working with government and private sector clients, Karen has led projects and provided technical, policy, and subject matter expertise in the areas of alcohol and drug impaired driving, distracted driving, occupant protection, high visibility enforcement, traffic safety technology, teen drivers, driver education, speed, drowsy driving, and other aspects of driver behavior. She brings a wealth of skills in facilitation, strategic planning, written, and oral communications and holds a B.S. in Sociology from North Dakota State University and a M.A. in Criminal Justice and Corrections from the University of Iowa, and is a certified Road Safety Professional.

Brian Swift

Brian Thomas Swift was born and raised in Upper Michigan. He attended Michigan State University and earned his undergraduate degree in psychology. He earned his MA degree in public administration from Northern Michigan University.

Brian has spent most of his career in politics, and has been based in Washington DC, Michigan, and Illinois. He served as a senior staffer for Congressman Robert W. Davis, and Director of Northern Michigan Operation’s for Governor John Engler. He has worked on many presidential, senate, and congressional campaigns. His expertise in politics is focused on community outreach, crisis management, economic development, and elections.

In the aftermath of the Iraq war, Brian worked in Baghdad for the Multi-National Force, Information Operations and Psychological Operations in 2005–2006. He worked with coalition partners to focus on media and strategic communications which culminated in the January 2005 Iraqi parliamentary elections. In June 2005, he worked with Australian officials to help win the release of kidnapped construction engineer, Douglass Wood.

Upon his return from Iraq, Brian went to work for the American Medical Association in Chicago as a regional representative working on behalf of physicians from 15 states, including Texas. In 2010, he was named Executive Vice President and CEO of the Tarrant County Medical Society (TCMS). TCMS, part of the Texas Medical Association, is an advocacy organization that represents physicians and patients on important healthcare issues across the state and in Washington, DC. Brian is an avid golfer and Green Bay Packers fan.

Over the course of his career, Brian has been involved in a variety of community/state organizations and initiatives:
– Marquette Chamber of Commerce, Legislative Board
– Upper Michigan Rural Heath Coalition, Board of Directors
– Director, Global Economic Development, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
– Keweenaw National Historical Park Founding Member
– Governor’s Liaison to K.I Sawyer AFB, Base Realignment and Closure Commission
– March for Babies, Board of Directors
– TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine – Admissions Committee
– Fort Worth Chamber, Legislative Committee
– Public Act 242 and 243 of 2016, “Swift Check,” Michigan’s Oral Fluid Roadside Drug Testing Program
– – The Kevin E. Quinlan Award – 2019

Joanne Thomka

Joanne Thomka is the Director of the National Traffic Law Center of the National District Attorneys Association in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to joining NDAA, Mrs. Thomka was a Senior Assistant District Attorney for the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office in Syracuse, New York. She was the Bureau Chief of the DWI Unit. Mrs. Thomka also previously served as a Program Counsel at the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

Mrs. Thomka is a member of several committees which pertain to traffic safety: Transportation Research Board’s Traffic Law Enforcement Committee, National Sheriff’s Association’s Traffic Safety Committee, Highway Safety Coalition, and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation’s DWI Working Group, She is also the recipient of the 2013 J. Stannard Baker Award, presented by the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Recognition for Outstanding Achievement in Highway Safety and a 2016 Public Service Award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for protecting communities and enhancing traffic safety through legal information and training to the Nation’s criminal justice community.

Richard A. Vlavianos

The Honorable Richard A. Vlavianos is a Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin. He was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson in 1999.

Judge Vlavianos was the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court from 2002–2005. He currently oversees: a multi-track DUI Court system of court supervision in high risk DUI cases; three courts that supervise individuals on community supervision after California’s realignment; a Proposition 36 Compliance Court; and a Mental Health Court. He has also presided over a Juvenile Drug Court; one of five pilot Parolee Re-entry Courts in California; and Drug Court.

He currently serves by appointment of the Chief Justice of California as Chair of the Judicial Council’s Collaborative Justice Advisory Committee and has served by appointment of the Chief Justice on the California Community Corrections Coordinating Committee.

In addition to his work on the bench, Judge Vlavianos has also implemented: a DUI prevention program, Choices and Consequences, that involves court proceedings inside of schools and the use of prisoners and collaborative court clients to educate students on the dangers of alcohol and drugs; an outreach program into the Hispanic community for DUI prevention; a Proposition 36 system re-design; and Truancy Court. As a Juvenile Court judge he piloted a successful program to improve outcomes for difficult to manage adolescent females.

Judge Vlavianos has served as faculty and/or as a keynote speaker for a multitude of state and national organizations/agencies such as the Transportation Research Board; National Judicial College; National Association of State Judicial Educators, etc.

In recognition of his work, Judge Vlavianos received a Public Service Award in 2017 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); the 2012 Kevin E. Quinlan Award from the Century Council (now; the 2015 Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Award from the Children’s Services Coordinating Commission; in addition to many others.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Vlavianos was a Deputy District Attorney in San Joaquin County for thirteen years and supervised the Narcotics Unit. He has a Juris Doctor Degree with Distinction from McGeorge School of Law in 1985, and is a member of the Order of the Coif and the Traynor Society.

Terence D. Walton

Terrence D. Walton, Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the National Association of
Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), is among the nation’s leading experts in providing training and technical assistance regarding addiction, treatment, recovery management and treatment courts. Prior to being named COO in October 2015, Terrence Walton was the NADCP Chief of Standards. In addition to being responsible for the daily operation of NADCP and planning the national conference, he retains his responsibility for establishing and implementing best practice standards nationwide.

Previously, Terrence Walton was Director of Treatment for the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia (PSA), in Washington, D.C. During his 15 years at PSA, he was responsible for directing the PSA operations that provide substance use disorder and mental health assessment, treatment, and social services for all adults released under PSA supervision in the District of Columbia. His responsibilities included overseeing the city’s adult Drug Court, the DWI Initiative, the mental health units, and various other programs for assessing, treating, and supervising justice system involved men and women. Previously, he excelled as the director of what was then the District of Columbia’s leading adolescent outpatient substance use treatment center.

Terrence Walton has directed programs in Dayton, Ohio and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has helped evaluate a multi-million-dollar White House Anti-Drug Media Campaign and served on the substance abuse task force as a part of the White House Best Practices Collaborative. In addition to his extensive work domestically, he has assisted treatment courts and addiction treatment programs in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Colombia, Barbados, Guam, Mexico, Vietnam, and Bermuda.

Terrence Walton is an internationally certified alcohol and other drug abuse counselor with over twenty-five years of experience helping individuals and organizations champion positive change. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Master of Social Work degree with specializations in program administration and substance abuse. Noted for his practical strength-based approaches to complex issues, Terrence Walton is actively sought out for insight on facilitating long term recovery for justice system involved individuals who are living with substance use and mental health disorders. Terrence Walton is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). A gifted and entertaining speaker, Terrence Walton travels extensively informing and inspiring audiences across the globe.


Effective Solutions

Effective Solutions

A comprehensive approach should be implemented in order to identify drug and multiple substance impaired drivers, promote accountability and behavior change including:

Specialized Training

Most law enforcement officers are trained to identify alcohol-impaired drivers, but many do not receive specialized training to identify the signs and symptoms of drug or multiple substance impairment.

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST)

Every law enforcement officer should be trained in SFST and should have refresher training on a regular basis.

Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE)

ARIDE training is the bridge between Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) training. The greater the number of ARIDE-trained officers, the more likely that drug and polysubstance-impaired drivers will be identified and DREs will be called upon to perform drug evaluations.

Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Training

A complete investigation for drug-impaired driving requires an evaluation by a drug recognition expert (DRE). The nation needs more drug recognition experts, especially in rural areas and smaller police and sheriff’s departments. This training requires 2 weeks of in-class instruction followed by a full week of field certification. DREs must be recertified every two years.

Prosecutor Trainings

Prosecutor training is necessary to help ensure effective prosecution of DUI and DUID cases. Many prosecutors who work these cases are fresh out of law school, yet impaired driving cases are the most complex cases to prosecute. Education is needed to provide an in-depth understanding of how to prosecute impaired driving. The National District Attorneys Association has developed two online trainings that are free and qualify for CLE training. Click here for the DUI course and here for the DUID course. Additionally, most states have at least one traffic safety resource prosecutor whose role is to assist the state’s prosecutors with traffic safety needs and trainings.

Wet Labs and Green Labs

Wet lab and green lab trainings are a great way for law enforcement and prosecutors to learn the signs of alcohol and cannabis impairment. In a controlled environment, volunteers are dosed with various amounts of alcohol or cannabis while attendees learn about the science of alcohol and cannabis impairment. Then attendees are given a chance to observe the volunteers undergo a series of impairment tests and document the results. and the National District Attorneys Association have published a Cannabis Impairment Detection Workshop Guide with step-by-step instructions on how to host a green lab.

Traffic Safety Resource Toxicology Project and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created the National Resource Toxicologist Pilot Program. The program is a multi-year (2020-2022) national assessment of forensic toxicology laboratories to identify challenges, successes, gaps, and funding issues related to impaired driving (drugs and alcohol) testing and data.

Toxicology laboratories can provide data that provide better understanding of the full extent of the issue, but widespread resource constraints prohibit forensic toxicology laboratories from testing for a full range of drugs and alcohol, leading to an incomplete picture of the scope of impaired driving in the United States. To better understand the full extent, additional research is needed to assess the financial and operational challenges that toxicology labs face in testing for substances. Many laboratories have implemented limited testing workflows which allow the blood alcohol concentration to dictate when drug testing will occur. This partnership is the first of its kind and will work to uncover what hinderances forensic toxicology labs face in conducting drug and alcohol testing.

WSLH will work with the Society of Forensic Toxicologist staff to collaborate with key government agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to improve the quality of data and to foster communication with stakeholders such as state highway safety offices, law enforcement, attorneys and judges to gauge the needs of laboratories and ensure thorough communication.

The traffic safety resource toxicologist will also identify the issue and expand the reach and understanding of toxicology with policymakers and criminal justice professionals; consult with states and local agencies; provide training; liaison between toxicology labs and national law enforcement and security partners, toxicology organizations, and universities; serve as a consultant in Frye and Daubert challenges that arise across the country in relation to Driving Under the influence (DUI) and Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) toxicology and the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Program; and, consult on policy issues related to toxicology at the Federal, state, and local level.

For more information about the National Resource Toxicologist Pilot Program, please contact WSLH Forensic Toxicology Section Director Amy Miles at [email protected] or 608-224-6247.

Judicial Training Resources

Judicial training is a critical component in the effort to reduce multiple substance impaired driving. A sentence that aims to identify substance use and mental health disorders, treat them if necessary, and supervision requirements that aim to rehabilitate offenders and reducing recidivism should be every judge’s goal.


Community Supervision Training Resources

Most impaired drivers serve their sentence in the community under the supervision of probation officers. Community supervision aims both to protect public safety and to encourage behavior change. To be effective, community supervision officials should rely on the use of validated assessments, proven methods and interagency partnerships.

Of the more than 4.5 million individuals subject to community supervision orders, at least 15% have one impaired driving conviction on their record, and approximately 8% are repeat DUI offenders.

DUI offenders are a challenging population to supervise, and they tend to be inconsistently supervised due to varying procedures across jurisdictions.

When monitoring, accountability, and treatment occur together, community supervision agencies can facilitate long-term behavior change.


Expand drug testing for impaired drivers

Expanded testing will strengthen DUI investigations and provide vital information to make appropriate sentencing, supervision, and treatment decisions. If drug use is not identified, offenders are unlikely to be subject to drug testing or treatment interventions while under supervision which means that behavior change is unlikely and the potential for recidivism remains high.

Oral Fluid Testing

Oral fluid tests should be more widely used for roadside screenings to detect presence of alcohol, much as a portable breath test is used at roadside to detect presence of alcohol.

Oral fluid testing at roadside is fast, reliable, inexpensive, and a relatively non-invasive way to help officers build drug impaired driving cases and expedite investigations in which toxicological evidence may rapidly diminish.

An oral fluid test will inform the officer of what substances, if any, have been used by the driver within about the last 4 hours, not days or weeks prior.

Their use requires reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a driver is impaired, typically following a standardized field sobriety test and other investigative procedures. The roadside screen is used along with other evidence to make a decision regarding arrest.

Roadside screening tests have been used statewide in Alabama and Michigan and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has approved the use of Federal funds for Indiana to implement an oral fluid program.

Although most states use oral fluid tests at the roadside in a screening capacity, Alabama has used them for evidential purposes as well. Evidential tests are analyzed in a toxicology lab.

Click here for more information on oral fluid testing and how it works. Learn more about oral fluid testing here.

Electronic Warrants

Electronic Search Warrants help officers quickly obtain a search warrant for blood to accurately determine BAC or toxicology results and streamline the arrest process. Other benefits of e-warrants include reduced workloads, fewer errors, stronger DUI cases, speedier case resolutions, fewer burdens on the system, reduced refusal rates, and public deterrence. Minnesota’s e-Charging platform reduced error rates from 30% to nearly zero and practitioners report increased ease in obtaining warrants. With an e-warrant system, submissions can be prepared in under 10 minutes and the review, approval, and return process can be completed in 15-20 minutes. Implementation recommendations and examples of robust systems can be found in our Guide to Implementing Electronic Warrants. Both the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) have joint resolutions in support of the use of e-warrant systems.

Phlebotomy programs

When suspects refuse BAC tests or when drug use is suspected, a certified medical professional must perform a blood draw. However, emergency department delays are common, and some medical facilities have policies limiting cooperation with law enforcement which can make it difficult to obtain the sample in a timely fashion. To address these issues and others (e.g., chain of custody, testimony, etc.), law enforcement agencies establish phlebotomy programs and certify officers to perform blood draws. Advantages of these programs are highlighted in the NHTSA Law Enforcement Phlebotomy Toolkit include: decreased time from traffic stop to blood sample collection; reduced costs ($40-100/draw); fewer case dismissals; reduced officer overtime pay; improved law enforcement testimony; potential for blood collection at the scene of vehicular homicide/ vehicular assault cases prior to being transported to the hospital; and shorter processing times. Law enforcement phlebotomy began in 1995 when the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) established this program to address concerns about high-BAC refusal rates. After the phlebotomy program was active, statewide refusal rates fell from 20% in 1995 to 6% in 2009. Today, more than 10 states have such phlebotomy programs in place.

Resource: Hospitals, HIPAA, and Impaired Driving Cases – a Guide for Law Enforcement & Prosecutors

Build laboratory capacity

Proof of a defendant’s positive alcohol and/or drug test is important for establishing guilt, but DUI blood samples may take months to process which can result in dismissed cases. Many states struggle with backlog in forensic laboratories that can be in upwards of nine months. Another common concern is a lack of toxicologists available to provide court testimony in complicated DUID cases. Labs need adequate staffing to address these issues. Also, new and advanced testing instrumentation is costly and requires new protocols, procedures, and training. States that wish to allocate highway safety or other grant funding to address any of these issues should be highly encouraged and allowed to do so.

National minimum guidelines in impaired driving cases

Accurate testing will advance understanding of the drug-impaired driving (DUID) problem. Labs should establish/adopt minimum guidelines for toxicological investigations in traffic crashes and drug-impaired driving cases (i.e., drug panels, cut-off levels, and testing procedures) such as those put forth by the National Safety Council (NSC). Lab uniformity is not required but a survey revealed 52% of labs questioned were in partial compliance and motivated to achieve full compliance with NSC recommendations (Logan et al., 2017). State agencies that increase consistency in testing practices will be better positioned to adopt national guidelines if/when these are established.

Expedite Test Collection

Law enforcement officers must be able to gather chemical samples quickly. Drug-impaired driving cases require a blood draw for evidential purposes and delays in obtaining the blood sample pose substantial challenges. Impairment from drug use can last for hours, but the body metabolizes drugs quickly and chemical evidence dissipates rapidly.

Law enforcement phlebotomy

One way to speed the process of blood collection is to train law enforcement officers as lab technicians so they are fully trained to draw blood. This program was first established in Arizona more than two decades ago and is in place in 13 states. Law enforcement phlebotomy saves time and money and alleviates the challenge of performing blood draws in hospitals.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published a toolkit that was highlighted in a recent webinar on law enforcement phlebotomy. NHTSA has also established a grant to assist states in setting up phlebotomy programs.

Electronic Warrants

Electronic warrants (e-Warrants) expedite warrant submission and approval, decrease human errors and speed the process for blood testing which will better match nanogram levels to what they were at the time of driving – in other words, the chemical evidence is preserved and not lost to metabolization. Examples of robust e-warrant systems can be found in Arizona, Minnesota, and Utah although each jurisdiction is encouraged to develop a system that is individualized such that it meets specific needs and garners support from key stakeholders. More information about these systems can be found in’s Implementation Guide.

Utilize Effective Technology

Advances in technology present tremendous opportunity to reduce impaired driving but they are underutilized currently.

In most states, DUIs are not classified as felony offenses until the third or fourth conviction. Many first and second impaired driving offenders are not subject to active supervision, making it difficult to effectively monitor offenders for compliance. Technologies can fill that supervision gap and also improve detection of impaired drivers.

Ignition Interlocks

Ignition interlocks are the most effective countermeasure to stop drunk driving. These devices are in use in all 50 states and D.C. and are mandatory for use among all DUI offenders in 34 states and D.C. However, only about 25 percent of DUI offenders who are required to install ignition interlocks on their vehicles actually do because DUI offenders are often not supervised after sentencing. There are a variety of strategies that states can use to increase ignition interlock implementation such as compliance-based removal, eliminating the ability to wait out a license suspension without interlock installation and allowing restoration of driving privileges if an offender installs an interlock. Click here for more information.

Oral Fluid Tests

Oral Fluid Tests are reliable, fast, non-invasive, and able to detect recent (within 4 hours) drug use. These devices can be used at the roadside to identify the presence and category of drugs among impaired drivers. Click here for more information.

Ocular Data Systems and Evidence Recorders

Ocular data systems and evidence recorders allow law enforcement officers to manually test the eye movements and responses of a subject while directly observing and capturing responses in a ‘live’ video. The subject’s captured responses can be stored and played back as evidence of impairment or for instructor critique in training.

Continuous Alcohol Monitoring

Continuous alcohol monitoring provides 24/7 transdermal alcohol testing for repeat impaired drivers. These systems automatically sample the offender’s perspiration every 30 minutes and encourages accountability and can increase compliance rates with court orders and community safety. Click here for more information.

Mobile Fingerprinting Devices

Mobile fingerprinting devices help on-duty police officers verify identities of impaired driving suspects and also allows DUI arrest data to be uploaded to the federal National Crime Information Center database to better identify repeat DUI offenders as they travel between states. Standard arrest protocols often do not include fingerprinting which makes it more difficult to identify repeat DUI offenders.

The DRE Tablet App

The DRE Tablet App was developed by the University of Albany Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) to allow law enforcement officers to enter observations and assessments of impaired driving suspects into computer tablets. This electronic process allows data sorting, trend tracking, and informed enforcement efforts.

The DRE tablet app captures all the data required for a Drug Influence Evaluation, and more. The system includes an electronic version of a face sheet, validates data, generates PDF evaluation documents, and uploads all data, including drawings, to a state database. Since the evaluations contain sensitive personal information, data is fully encrypted, and security precautions are in place on both the tablet and the server.

Data collected from the application allows law enforcement agencies to plan their patrols around specific time frames and days of the week when multiple substance and drug-impaired driving violations are most prevalent. Click here for more information.

Electronic Warrants

Electronic Warrants (eWarrants) are an important tool to help law enforcement get impaired drivers off the roads. Automated warrant processes give law enforcement a streamlined tool to ensure people who drive impaired are held accountable. For more information and to learn how to set up these systems, click here and here.

Online Prosecutor Trainings

Online Prosecutor Trainings are necessary to help ensure effective prosecution of DUI cases. Many prosecutors who work on DUI cases are fresh out of law school, yet impaired driving cases are the most complex cases to prosecute. Education is needed to provide an in-depth understanding of how to prosecute impaired driving. The National District Attorneys Association has developed an online training that is free and qualifies for CLE training and will be expanded in 2021 to include drug-impaired driving as well. Click here for more information.

Computerized Screening and Assessment

Computerized Screening and Assessment programs that are validated specifically among DUI offenders are now available. There are three such programs: The Computerized Assessment and Referral System (free to use), the Impaired Driving Assessment (free to use) and the DUI-RANT Assessment. Traditional screening and assessment tools were not developed for the unique risks and needs among impaired drivers. The result has been that an offender’s risk of recidivism, substance use and mental health disorders and treatment needs have not been accurately identified. It is common for impaired drivers to have undiagnosed and untreated substance use and mental health disorders. Without effective identification of these problems, behavior change is unlikely, and they have a higher risk to become repeat offenders.

Advanced Vehicle Technology

Imagine this: A 24-year-old man has consumed some cannabis followed by a few drinks at happy hour. He also takes a prescription medication for ADHD.

On the drive home, his car lets him know he’s not road ready when it senses him leaving his lane and speeding. The car carefully slows down and pulls off the street. He gets a ride share to take him home.

Technology that would stop impaired and dangerous driving exists right now and legislation currently pending in Congress and championed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) would move the technology from the research and development phase to future implementation. This technology would save an estimated 9,400 lives a year.

The Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate Drunk Driving (HALT) Act and the Reducing Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act hold the power to virtually eliminate drunk driving.

There are two types of technologies that hold promise:

  • Driver monitoring and driving performance monitoring systems can detect signs of distracted, impaired, or fatigued driving by monitoring the driver to assess risk and respond accordingly and/or recognizing erratic or reckless driving as measured by actions of the vehicle. For example, Volvo is adding sensors and cameras to its vehicles aimed at enhancing safety by monitoring drivers for signs of being drunk, impaired by drugs or distracted and intervening to prevent crashes.
  • Alcohol detection uses sensors to determine that a driver is at or above the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08 and then prevents the vehicle from moving.

For more information, contact

Rideshare Services

Rideshare Services serve as a great ally in the quest to eliminate impaired driving and saving lives. This service provides people with an alternate form of transportation to safely travel to a party, restaurant, bar, or other activities, and back home after consuming alcohol or drugs. Platforms such as Lyft, Uber and OnUs are attractive to use, affordable for many and a much safer alternative to driving or walking impaired.

Improved Data Collection

The nation needs better data on impaired driving such as timely and accurate reporting of crash information, including electronic crash reporting systems that allow accurate real- or near real-time uploading of crash information, and impaired driving criminal justice information into Federal, State, and local databases.

Additionally, the National Safety Council has established model guidelines for toxicology testing that include submission of alcohol and drug toxicology results to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System to include the type of drug(s) and quantification noted in the toxicology report.

Better data will help determine what actions are most important for communities to implement for reducing multiple substance impaired driving.

Better DUI Detection

The Issue

Better DUI Detection

Testing for both drugs and alcohol among impaired drivers should be a best practice and will lead to:

  • Reduced recidivism
  • A better understanding of the issue
  • Informed decision-making regarding policy and resource allocation.
  • Effective case disposition
  • Sentences tailored to offender supervision and treatment needs

Multiple pilot programs have shown more than 1/3 of impaired drivers have drugs in their system and illegal BAC levels:

  • 36% of DUI tests in Orange County, CA detected impaired drugs AND a BAC of .08+ (Source Harmon, 2019)
  • 39% of Miami-Dade drivers tested positive for drugs AND a BAC of .08+ (Source: Logan et al., 2014)
  • 40% of drivers in Dane County, WI tested positive for drugs AND a BAC of .10+ (Source Edwards et al., 2017)

Usually, these individuals would only be identified as alcohol-impaired drivers and further investigation regarding drug use would be unlikely to occur.

  • 50.5% of fatally injured drug-positive drivers (with known drug test results) were positive for two or more drugs and 40.7% were found to have alcohol in their system (NHTSA FARS as cited in Hedlund, 2018)
  • Among drug-positive drivers killed in crashes, 4% tested positive for both marijuana and opioids, 16% for opioids only, 38% for marijuana only, and 42% for other drugs (Governors Highway Safety Association, 2017)
  • The percentage of traffic deaths in which at least one driver tested positive for drugs has nearly doubled over a decade. (USA Today, 2016) (Source:
  • The number of alcohol-positive drivers killed in crashes who also tested positive for drugs increased by 16% from 2006 to 2016 (Governors Highway Safety Association, 2017)

Click here for more information on the need for expanded drug testing.



Berning, A., & Smither, D.D. (2014). Understanding the Limitations of Drug Test Information, Reporting, and Testing Practices in Fatal Crashes. DOT HS 812 072. Washington, DC: NHTSA.

Bui, B., & Reed, J. (2019). Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol: A Report Pursuant to House Bill 17-1315. Denver: Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Public Safety.

Compton, R., Vegega, M., & Smither, D. (2009). Drug-Impaired Driving: Understanding the Problem & Ways to Reduce It: A Report to Congress. Washington, D.C.: NHTSA.

Edwards, L., Smith, K., & Savage, T. (2017). Drugged driving in Wisconsin: Oral fluid versus blood. Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 41(6), 523-529

Government Accountability Office. (2015). Drug-Impaired Driving: Additional Support Needed for Public Awareness Initiatives. Washington, DC: Author.

Griffiths, P. (2014). An Overview of Drug Impaired Driving in the European Union. Presented at the 2nd International Symposium on Drugs and Driving. Wellington, NZ: New Zealand Drug Foundation.

Grondel, D., Hoff, S., & Doane, D. (2018). Marijuana Use, Alcohol Use, and Driving in Washington State: Emerging Issues with Poly-Drug Use on Washington Roadways. Olympia: Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Harmon, J. (2019, July). Drug and Polydrug Use Among Drivers: A Toxicology Perspective. Presented as part of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee mid-year meeting webinar, Washington, DC.

Hartman, R., Brown, T., Milavetz, G. et al. (2015). Controlled cannabis vaporizer administration: Blood and plasma cannabinoids with and without alcohol. Clinical Chemistry, 61, 850-869.

Hayes, C. (2019, July). The Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program Approach to Identifying Polydrug Impairment. Presented as part of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee mid-year meeting webinar, Washington, DC.

Hedlund, J. (2017). Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States. Washington, DC: Governors Highway Safety Association.

Hedlund, J. (2018). Drug-Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States. Washington, DC: Governors Highway Safety Association.

Kedia, S., Sell, M., & Relyea, G. (2007). Mono versus polydrug abuse patterns among publicly funded clients. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, & Policy, 2(33), DOI: 10.1186/1747-597X-2-33.

Logan, B., Mohr, A., & Talpins, S. (2014). Detection and prevalence of drug use in arrested drivers using the Dräger Drug Test 5000 and Affiniton DrugWipe oral fluid drug screening devices. Journal of Analytical Toxicology: doi:10.1093/jat/bku050.

Ma, A. (2019, June). Colorado Case Study: Polysubstance-Impaired Driving. Presented at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) State Transportation Leaders Symposium, Denver, CO.   

Ramaekers, J., Robbe, H., & O’Hanlon, J. (2000). Marijuana, alcohol and actual driving performance. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 15, 551-558.

Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA). (2019). The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact (Vol. 6). Denver, CO: Author.

Romano, E., Torres-Saavedra, P., Voas, R.B., et al. (2014). Drugs and alcohol: Their relative crash risk. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 75, 56-64.

Schulze, H., Schumacher, M., Urmeew, R., et al. (2012). DRUID Final Report: Work Performed, Main Results and Recommendations. Bergisch Gladbach, Federal Republic of Germany: Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt).

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2018). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. HHS Publication No. SMA 18-5068, NSDUH Series H-53. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, SAMHSA. 

Talpins, S., & Rogers, P. (2017). Overcoming the plateau: Reducing impaired driving by addressing drug-impaired drivers. Global Journal of Addiction & Rehabilitation Medicine, 1(4), DOI: 10.19080/GJARM.2017.01.555569.

State Laws

State Laws

SELECT A STATE on the map below to view statistics about and laws relating to impaired driving.