Michigan Police Focus On Detecting Drug-Impaired Drivers

Alcohol-impaired drivers often can be detected with a quick preliminary breath test, but drug-impaired drivers are much harder to spot.  Determining whether suspected drug-impaired motorists are actually under the influence can take an hour or more of assessing a suspected motorist and include even taking a suspect’s pulse and blood pressure at the roadside.

The Michigan State Police Training Academy is hosting the first two weeks of a three-week effort to train MI police to find drug-impaired drivers.  On Tuesday, 15 police officers from the Michigan State Police and 10 other agencies began the federally funded course. Five prosecutors from across Michigan also are participating.

Despite a decrease in alcohol-related crashes, fatalities and arrests in recent years, Michigan’s number of drug-related traffic fatalities last year rose 29 percent from the 119 drug-related fatalities recorded in 2009, according to preliminary data from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.   Statewide, about one in five drivers killed tested positive for drugs in 2009, officials said.  State officials say the increase is due partly to enhanced testing techniques that allow investigators to better detect drugs, but also could reflect increased drug use among motorists.

Michael Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said there is no data yet to indicate that more motorists are driving while impaired with marijuana because of the state’s medical marijuana law, approved in 2008.

Programs to train officers to spot drug impairment began in the California in the late 1970s, but Michigan has lagged behind other Midwestern states in adopting the strategy.

Read the full story in http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/

If you have been pulled over and charged with Drunk-Driving or Impaired Driving contact Ambrose Law Group at (248) 624-5500

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Filed under Drunk Driving/OWI/DUI/OWVI/DWI, Marijuana

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