banner of Priorities and Strategies for Improving the Investigation, Use of Toxicology Results, and Prosecution of Drug-Impaired Driving Cases

Issue #4:  What should be the priorities of stakeholders in advancing the enforcement of drug-impaired driving statutes?

Ultimately, the goal of this meeting, having identified problems, was to identify solutions and designate responsibilities for implementing these. The following are recommendations:

Action Items

All groups attending have committed to better communication and involvement in each other’s targeted training. Groups should take advantage of all opportunities to raise public awareness of the DUID issue through media statements, public service announcements, press releases, and public information campaigns.

Specific undertakings:
         
National Traffic Law Center of the American Prosecutors Research Institute:

  • NTLC offered to act as a clearinghouse for some of the resources described. This would require further development of its Web site and continued structured input from the DRE and toxicology communities. The consensus of the group was that the resources discussed and identified at this meeting speak for themselves and should be generally available as public access documents.
  • NTLC will create a listserv to provide a forum for discussion of specific issues in the prosecution, investigation, or toxicology of DUID cases. (*This was established in fall 2004, and interested parties can subscribe by contacting the NTLC at www.ndaa-apri.org).
  • NTLC should work with SOFT/AAFS to develop and expand their expert witness databank.

International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP):

IACP oversees the DRE program and organizes an annual national conference on impaired driving and periodic regional training and conferences for DREs and other traffic safety professionals. IACP committed to ensure toxicology participation in the program at future annual meetings.

  • The IACP Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) will require inclusion of DRE face-sheets and reports, with samples submitted to toxicology laboratories. This will help ensure that targeted and appropriate testing is performed in every case.
  • IACP will assist the SOFT/AAFS Drugs and Driving Committee in identifying laboratories that provide analysis for DRE programs, so they can be surveyed for current analytical practices.
  • The TAP will recommend use of DRE officers in all fatal and serious collisions.
  • The TAP will develop a list of best practices to maximize DRE utilization.

Society of Forensic Toxicologists/ American Academy of Forensic Sciences Drugs and Driving Committee:

The SOFT/AAFS committee coordinates, plans, and manages training events on the topic of alcohol and drug-impaired driving. It works with their parent organizations to ensure that DUID related topics appear in the programs of each group’s annual meeting.

  • The committee will collaborate with NSC-COAD in preparing a list of labs performing DRE toxicology to facilitate a survey of those labs, the drugs they test for, the techniques they use, and the screening and confirmation cut-off levels they use for specific drugs. They will conduct the survey, compile the data and report back to the stakeholders represented in this panel for future discussion.
  • The committee will continue to provide training events at both the AAFS and SOFT annual meetings, and will investigate offering DUID-related trainings regionally. It will provide copies of the material presented at these workshops to the host of the Web resource.
  • The committee will coordinate with the SOFT continuing education committee to discuss developing a regional training module on drugs and driving to be taught using local resources.
  • The committee will contact the publisher of the Forensic Science Review Drugs and Driving monographs to request permission to assign copyright to the committee and allow unrestricted dissemination of these articles (this was accomplished in December 2004).
  • The committee will update the forensic science review monographs at some time in the future as dictated by developments in the field, preferably before 2008.
  • The committee will acquire electronic versions of the material used in the training sessions developed for prior professional meetings, and make those available on a hosted Internet site.

National Safety Council Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs

NSC/COAD, the sponsor of this meeting, will act as coordinator for further activities and liaison with NHTSA and other interested Federal agencies. This committee has been delegated responsibilities for developing, articulating, and coordinating policy issues regarding DUID and liaising with Federal agencies.

  • The committee is working jointly with the SOFT/AAFS Committee on Drugs and Driving to survey laboratories that provide services to DRE programs in order to establish the current standard of practice in use. In a collaborative effort, these groups will also prepare a proposal for a joint meeting to develop guidelines for laboratories performing DRE toxicology. This meeting will also consider guidelines for the interpretation of toxicological results when people are passively exposed to drugs.
  • The committee will sponsor and arrange additional future meetings of expert panels for follow up on the recommendations of this report, subject to availability of resources.

The International Council on Alcohol Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS)

This group represents international interests and concerns in the field of DUID, and is a source for research materials and best practices from other countries. The council holds a triennial meeting of world experts and programs in the area of alcohol and drug-impaired driving.

  • The council will hold its next international meeting in the United States in Seattle, WA (August 26th-30th, 2007). This will be its first meeting of this group in the United States since 1989. This represents an opportunity for further interaction of stakeholder groups to improve communication, integrate their areas of expertise, and develop partnerships for creating new resources and using existing resources more effectively. Information is to be posted at www.T2007.org .

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

NHTSA has increased support of activities in support of some of the goals outlines above. NHTSA has, through its administration of State traffic safety funds, an opportunity to influence attention on this issue in the individual States. NHTSA’s unique position, as a Federal agency with 10 regional offices that follow highway safety activities in every State, makes it an invaluable partner in this effort.

  • By providing funding to States, NHTSA can have some influence on States’ policies and spending. Communication between key local players in combating DUID has been identified as a problem. NHTSA should provide guidance to State Highway Traffic Safety Offices to promote communication by convening State coordinating committees where these do not exist.
  • NHTSA should continue to support the activities of organizations capable of following up and promoting the development of recommendations, and their implementation, such as has occurred in the case of this project.
  • DRE is the best currently available field tool for DUID enforcement. NHTSA should support States in developing and maintaining their DRE programs.

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