On December 13, 2022, the National Transportation Safety Board released a new study on crash risks associated with driver impairment related to the use of drugs and alcohol. This study was conducted by looking at the currently available literature from the National Highway Traffic Administration and an independent analysis of laboratory reports from the testing of samples taken during DUI investigations where the driver was either arrested for impaired driving or fatally injured. This review and analysis revealed some very concerning data.
First, the report noted that, as one would expect, that multiple drugs and their associated categories lead to impaired driving and increase the risk of a crash significantly. Unfortunately, due to common investigatory and sample testing procedures, the rate of drug impairment is not reliably reported and is not able to be used in estimating the rate of drug impaired driving on the roads today. The best available data for this analysis was limited to five populations of drivers1 in various locations in the US.
The results from this analysis showed that between 71 and 99% of the samples examined showed one or more impairing drugs or alcohol. Alcohol was the most common impairing substance and cannabis was the second. Cannabis, however, was typically found in combination with other drugs and alcohol across the board. 2
Secondly, the report noted that although there have been numerous campaigns to reduce alcohol impaired driving, much needs to be done to help reduce drug impaired driving. This involves adding warning labels to cannabis based products and prescription medications and increasing public awareness campaigns. These efforts, such as the “Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign out of Colorado have the potential to reduce the long term consequences of drug impaired driving although the effectiveness of these efforts is not clearly known.
Another recommendation from the report is that State, including those that have legalized the recreational or medical use of cannabis, need to strengthen the laws regarding driving while drug impaired. This would include the clarification of the definitions of drug impaired driving, more funding for biological specimen testing during DUI/OWI investigations, authorization and implementation of Oral Fluid testing for impaired driving enforcement and stricter penalties for drug impaired driving.
Among the recommendations made in regards to the DUI/DWI/OWI enforcement was the implementation of Electronic Warrants (eWarrants) in the authorization of the collection of biological samples. The primary reason for the implementation of eWarrants was to reduce the time between the apprehension of a driver suspected of impairment and the testing of the biological sample. Since things like BAC, THC levels and a variety of other intoxicating elements can metabolize very quickly, time is of the essence to collect the specimen. It was reported by one of the laboratories that the average time between the initial stop of a suspected DUI incident and the collection of the blood sample was over 2 hours. This causes the tests run on the samples gathered to return results that are lower (in some cases, far lower) that they would have been at the time of the stop.
States that have implemented eWarrant systems like CloudGavel, are able to complete their application for a DUI Blood Draw Warrant online and submit it the duty judge instantly. The judge is able to review this application, communicate with the officer (if needed) and sign the warrant within minutes instead of hours. This allows the officer to get the suspect to a location where the blood or breath sample can be taken and testing before metabolism and dissipation can occur. This will lead to better and more reliable results for the prosecution, conviction and punishment of drivers found to be operating motor vehicles while impaired.
CloudGavel has been helping agencies generate warrants for DUI enforcement for over 7 years and the members of the CloudGavel team have over 30 years of combined eWarrant and Law Enforcement experience. CloudGavel has also been rolled out in over 200 agencies across the US and was added by the State of Nevada as the state-wide DUI Search Warrant platform. If your agency, county or State would like to get more information on CloudGavel, you can reach us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, calling us at 1-866-297-5155 or visiting our website at www.CloudGavel.com anytime.