The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recently announced a new $2.3 million grant program to help combat drug-impaired driving on America’s roads.
The grants will provide funding for state and local agencies to offer Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and Drug Recognition Expert training to law enforcement, judges and prosecutors. Training courses are expected to begin later this year. The IACP will manage the grant program through a cooperative agreement with NHTSA.
The courses will train participants to observe, identify and articulate the signs of impairment related to drugs, alcohol or a combination of both in order to reduce the number of impaired drivers and traffic crashes.
“These programs are effective tools to help law enforcement remove drug-impaired drivers from our roads,” said Heidi R. King, deputy administrator of NHTSA. “As officers, judges, prosecutors and others complete these courses, they will learn more about how to identify potentially impaired drivers. This knowledge will aid in the prosecution of impaired-driving offenders and make our roads safer for everyone.”
Added IACP President Paul M. Cell, “The IACP is excited to partner with NHTSA on this important issue. As the manager of the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program, IACP works side by side with the states and provides guidance to their drug-impaired driving enforcement efforts. This will help states train more officers and other members of the justice community and reduce the harm caused by drugged driving on our nation’s roadways.”
This announcement builds on NHTSA’s efforts to educate drivers about the dangers of drug-impaired driving, including a call-to-action summit in Washington, D.C., in March 2018 and a series of regional meetings across the country. NHTSA and the Ad Council also launched a new public service announcement campaign in April to address drug impairment: “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.”