Shaq Lends Voice to Law Enforcement Training Initiative
Funding announced for states to train officers to detect drug-impaired drivers
ARLINGTON, Va. – Shaquille O’Neal today joined the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) to unveil GHSA’s new law enforcement initiative to provide states funding to significantly increase the number of officers trained to detect drug-impaired drivers. The event was held at Rayburn House Office Building and was attended by members of Congress and Congressional staff.
“As a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police, a Miami Beach reserve officer and an honorary deputy, I know how challenging it is to identify drug-impaired drivers,” said professional basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. “It’s a complex process that requires special training. I am proud to be a part of expanding law enforcement’s ability to recognize an impaired driver – who could be drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted – or a combination of impairments.”
Drug-impaired driving is a growing problem in America. With the increase in marijuana and other drug use, states are looking for ways to prevent people from getting behind the wheel when they should not be driving, and identifying those who do.
Earlier this year, with support from Responsibility.org, GHSA published Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Do, a comprehensive report to help states address this complex highway safety issue. One key recommendation in the report is equipping law enforcement officers with the skills to detect and respond to drug-impaired drivers through specialized training programs.
GHSA Chair Jana Simpler said, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Responsibility.org to develop the capacity of law enforcement to identify and arrest drug-impaired drivers. It is wonderful to be able to provide resources to turn this recommendation into a reality across the country.”
“Unfortunately drivers can be drunk and drugged and even drowsy or distracted; impairments do not happen in a vacuum. We need to become more comprehensive in our approach if we want to effectively address this complex problem,” said Responsibility.org President and CEO Ralph Blackman.
Responsibility.org awarded GHSA a $250,000 grant over a two-year period. GHSA will in turn award funding to State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to support their efforts in enforcing drugged driving detection. An award selection committee comprised of GHSA, Responsibility.org, The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association will determine winners. An application and additional information will be sent to SHSOs under separate cover.
About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 25 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility. To learn more, please visit us at Responsibility.org or follow us on social media: @goFAAR.
About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.
Georgia Cassady, Responsibility.org
Kara Macek, GHSA