GHSA Provides Training to Law Enforcement Officers to Help States Fight Drug-Impaired Driving
Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Texas to Receive Funding for law enforcement training
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Four GHSA State Highway Safety Office members will receive grants totaling nearly $80,000 to help combat drug-impaired driving, a growing problem across the country. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org), a long-time GHSA partner, is providing the financial support for this project.
In December of last year, soon-to-be National Basketball League Hall of Fame member Shaquille O’Neal joined the organizations on Capitol Hill to announce the launch of this initiative. Today’s announcement marks the next phase of the effort.
The Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Texas highway safety offices will each use their funding to provide law enforcement officers with the advanced training and skills necessary to detect drivers who are impaired by marijuana and other drugs. Twenty-two states and territories applied for these competitive grants. A selection committee comprised of law enforcement and drug-impaired driving experts from around the country reviewed the applications and determined the winners.
“One of the key recommendations in our 2015 report on drug-impaired driving was to provide training for law enforcement officers that will empower them to identify and arrest drug-impaired drivers,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “This new program delivers the much-needed resources that will help states do just that.”
Specifically, Texas and Nevada will use their funds to reach rural agencies that often do not have access to this training. Florida and Illinois will expand their existing programs and lay the groundwork for long-term training programs. At the end of this year, collectively this program will provide training and certification to nearly 70 new Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) and certify over 410 law enforcement officials in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE).
As drug-impaired drivers continue to be a nationwide problem, it is critical that law enforcement agencies and highway safety offices have all the tools available to them to identify these drivers. GHSA and Responsibility.org will work closely with all four states to monitor progress and share achievements with the highway safety community. The organizations will expand upon these successes and offer a second round of competitive grants to the states again in early 2017.
“Recent data suggests that impaired driving – whether the driver is drugged, drunk, drowsy or distracted – is a growing concern. Increased training for law enforcement officers is more important than ever in addressing this challenge,” said Ralph S. Blackman, president and CEO of Responsibility.org. “That’s why Responsibility.org is proud to sponsor this law enforcement training initiative.”
In addition to GHSA and Responsibility.org, other selection committee members and advisors for this project include senior leadership from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.
About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. Recognizing 25 years of impact, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility. To learn more, please visit us at Responsibility.org or follow us on social media: @goFAAR.
Kara Macek, GHSA