Two senators are calling on the federal government to increase funding to help police departments tackle drugged driving.
Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have proposed that federal funding in a transportation bill under consideration be used for research and to train police, the Associated Press reports. They said police need equipment and training in identifying drugged drivers, who do not show the same signs of intoxication as those who have been drinking, such as slurred speech.
“Cops need a Breathalyzer-like technology that works to identify drug-impaired drivers on the spot — before they cause irreparable harm,” Schumer said in a statement. “With the explosive growth of prescription drug abuse it’s vital that local law enforcement have the tools and training they need to identify those driving under the influence of narcotics to get them off the road.”
Schumer cited a 2007 survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that found that more than 16 percent of weekend and night-time drivers tested positive for illegal prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs.
He called for passage of the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011, which would provide funding to the Department of Transportation to conduct research into drug-impaired driving technologies and initiatives and provides grants to states that can be used for drug recognition training and other measures to reduce drug impaired driving.