It's about time.
Bill Seeks Roadside Drug Testing Devices Following CA Marijuana Legalization.
SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), a former 28-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol, introduced state legislation today that would authorize use of roadside drug testing devices for evaluating drivers stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence. The proposed law takes on new importance in wake of California voters approving Proposition 64 to allow marijuana for recreational use.
“The ballot initiative passed this year to legalize marijuana will result in more marijuana consumers on our state’s highways and roads. It is imperative that we invest in a broad spectrum of technologies and research to best identify marijuana-impaired drivers,” said Chief Ken Corney, President of the California Police Chiefs Association. “Our federal partners have demonstrated the efficacy of oral fluid testing, and we look forward to utilizing the technology at a state level.”
Statistics from states with legalized recreational marijuana show that drugged driving is a significant problem. A 2016 report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that Washington’s rate of drivers who had recently used marijuana and were involved in fatal crashes doubled from 8% to 17% in the first year following legalization. It also found that one in six drivers involved in fatal crashes had recently used marijuana.
“California cannot wait any longer to take meaningful action against drugged driving now that voters have passed Proposition 64,” said Lackey. “Using new technology to identify and get stoned drivers off the road is something we need to embrace.”
Similar to alcohol breathalyzers, these drug tests take saliva samples from drivers which can be administered non-invasively by officers roadside when they suspect someone could be under the influence of drugs. Within a few minutes, officers are informed whether the driver tested positive for several classifications of drugs including marijuana.
The legislation was introduced as Assembly Bill 6 and will be brought up for a vote in early 2017.