The best way to stop drugged driving is to do more drunk driving enforcement.
Law enforcement officers are our best allies in the effort to reduce drugged driving and are the heroes who make our roads safe. Much like with drunk driving, the best way to deter and detect would-be drugged drivers is through the use of high-visibility enforcement tactics. These include sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.
Because of the wide array of drugs and their varying levels of impairment, training is key to ridding our roadways of drugged drivers. That’s why MADD supports the full implementation of specialized training programs to assist law enforcement officers in detecting drugged drivers.
Drug Recognition Experts
The Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) program was created through a collaboration between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
The DEC program, also referred to as the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program, was developed to help officers identifying drug-impaired drivers. To become a DRE, officers must follow a rigorous three-phase training curriculum and learn to conduct a standardized and systematic 12-step evaluation consisting of physical, mental and medical components.
Currently, there are 37 states plus the District of Columbia participating in the program with about 8,000 officers trained nationwide. Click here to find a DRE Coordinator in your state.
For more information on the DEC/DRE program, contact the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
For those agencies who lack the funding to employ a full time DRE, an alternative training has been established – the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) program.
ARIDE was created by NHTSA to address the gap between the traditional Standard Field Sobriety Test training given to officers to assist in detecting impaired drivers and the DEC/DRE program. The class requires 16 hours of classroom training versus the three-phase curriculum required to become a certified DRE.
There are currently more than 36,000 officers ARIDE certified.
For more information on the ARIDE program, contact the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) remains the foundation of impaired driving detection and enforcement for some 800,000 officers across the country. Some states, however, do not require SFST training for officers assigned to patrol functions. MADD expects all officers to have the basic SFST skills to detect an impaired driver on the roads.