Responsibility.org Commends Introduction of Bipartisan Drug-Impaired Driving Education Act of 2020
Contact: [email protected] 202-251-5144
August 31, 2020 (Arlington, VA) - Responsibility.org today hailed the leadership of Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH) in introducing the bipartisan Drug-Impaired Driving Education Act of 2020, which would grant $5 million per year for state programs to educate Americans about the risks of consuming drugs or a combination of substances and driving.
In 2016, more than half of fatally injured drug-positive drivers with known drug test results had two or more drugs in their system, and more than 40 percent tested positive for both drugs and alcohol. One study in Washington state showed that 44 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes from 2008-2016 tested positive for two or more substances, with alcohol and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the most common combination.
Yet, drug-impaired and multi-substance impaired driving are underreported. Many states pursue only driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) charges and prevent drug testing if an impaired driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at or above the legal limit, making impaired driving the only crime where investigations cease once minimal evidence is obtained. Additional limitations arise due to the lack of scientific impairment standards for drugs and the fact that drugs’ effects on impairment are not well understood.
Responsibility.org Vice President of Traffic Safety and Government Relations Darrin Grondel, Ph.D., commended the legislation’s introduction and commented:
“Drug-impaired and multi-substance impaired driving are an increasing and unacceptable danger on our nation’s roads. The bipartisan Drug Impaired Driving Education Act of 2020 is a huge step forward in increasing awareness of this danger and improving public education and road safety about the dangers of using drugs or combining multiple substances, including alcohol, and driving.”
The bill’s co-sponsors emphasized the dangers of drug-impaired and multi-substance impaired driving and the importance of the legislation:
Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY): “Despite common misconceptions, drug-impaired driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, and that’s why this bill to expand public education and awareness is so important. I’ve been working on these issues for my entire career, and I have seen the immense pain and tragedy that they can cause far too many times. I thank Responsibility.org for their continued advocacy and support of this legislation. We must keep working together until we can end impaired and distracted driving once and for all.”
Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH): “When someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, entire communities are put at risk. Sadly, this is a fact we know all too well in the state of Ohio, where the opioid epidemic runs rampant. This legislation takes critical steps to educate our communities about the risks associated with drug-driving impaired, including those driving under the influence of opioids and marijuana.”
The risk posed by multi-substance impaired drivers is so great that Responsibility.org has classified them as “high-risk impaired drivers” and included them in our newest resource, an innovative online toolkit to STOP High Risk Impaired Drivers (www.stophrid.org).
Since 2015, Responsibility.org has provided grant funding to states to address this important issue resulting in more than 2500 specially trained law enforcement officers. In 2020, grants were made available to Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wyoming through our partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association. We have also supported the National Sheriffs Association’s annual specialized trainings for law enforcement.
About Responsibility.org: Responsibility.org is a national not-for-profit that aims to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empower adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. Responsibility.org is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; and Pernod Ricard USA. For 29 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families, and communities together to inspire a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices. To learn more, please visit Responsibility.org.