We Urge Passage of House Bill 71
We applaud Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito for their leadership to prevent impaired driving and commend the Baker-Polito Administration and the Special Commission for their recommendations which have resulted in House Bill 71.
Today at the Massachusetts Statehouse, Colleen Sheehey-Church, Public Policy Liaison, Responsibility.org, and former National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) spoke about our organization’s steadfast leadership to prevent impaired driving.
Sheehey-Church knows the heartbreak of losing someone. Her son Dustin was killed by a drunk and drugged driver. These crimes are 100% preventable. Training and supporting law enforcement are important steps in ensuring that the tragedy her family has endured will not happen to others.
House Bill 71 will establish in-service ARIDE and Drug Recognition Expert training for Law Enforcement Officers and will have a profound impact on Public Safety in Massachusetts.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal crashes involving drugs have risen nearly 15% since 2005. More than 40% of those drivers tested positive for some form of marijuana and nearly 20% had opioids in their system.
Alcohol-impaired drivers are still involved in 28% of all traffic fatalities. When drugs and alcohol are both in a driver’s system, the risk increases significantly. Fatal crash data shows that many impaired drivers have more than one substance in their body.
House Bill 71 is an important step in the right direction because it would provide specialized law enforcement training to recognize drug-impaired driving. This is a crucial front-line tool needed to enable law enforcement to more effectively identify drug-impaired drivers.
The passage of HB 71 will bring this important training and other key drug-impaired driving countermeasures to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and it is our organization’s recommendation to pass House Bill 71 into law this year, saving lives and keeping families intact.