As Drivers Return to the Roadways, Seven States Receive Grants to Stop High Risk Impaired Driving
GHSA & Responsibility.org to Award $245,000 in Highway Safety Grants
WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the sixth consecutive year, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) are awarding grants to help states keep Americans safe from the most dangerous impaired drivers.
The new grants will expand the nearly 2,000 officers trained in drug-impaired driving detection through the first five years of the partnership. The 2020 grant awards will fund seven states – Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wyoming – with a total of $210,000 to support enhanced identification and assessment of alcohol and drug impaired drivers. GHSA will also receive $35,000 to educate State Highway Safety Offices and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States about state oral fluid test pilot programs.
Summer is traditionally the deadliest season for impaired driving, and risks are expected to be particularly high this summer as states reopen bars, restaurants and other hospitality establishments that have been shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With road traffic levels returning to pre-pandemic levels, and the pandemic’s impact on mental health and economic anxiety, experts believe this is a critical time to support efforts to keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel.
“Vehicle miles traveled fell drastically during the pandemic, but that decline didn’t result in improved safety on our nation’s roadways,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “Alcohol and drug impaired driving persisted, with prevention experts warning the problem may worsen as people continue to worry about contracting the virus, recover from the economic fall-out and adhere to social distancing requirements. All are triggers for substance use making this grant program even more important.”
The grants will help states implement key recommendations in the GHSA report onHigh Risk Impaired Drivers, funded by Responsibility.org. While every impaired driver is high risk, this report and the Responsibility.org STOP HRID online resource hub take counter-measures to the next level by recommending proven, multidisciplinary approaches to addressing the specific dangers posed by repeat offenders and impaired drivers with high blood alcohol concentrations or a combination of impairing substances.
Impairment may be the result of alcohol, drugs or both, as there has been a 16% increase between 2006 and 2016 in the number of impaired drivers killed in crashes who tested positive for multiple substances, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The GHSA report calls on states to prevent repeat offenders and reduce the number of fatalities by taking an individualized justice approach to the problem. This is a multidisciplinary effort to identify the root cause of an offender’s behavior, determine the appropriate sanctions and prevent recidivism. Highlights of the programs to be funded with STOP HRID grants include:
Training law enforcement officers in advanced drug-impaired driving recognition.Pennsylvania’s grant will enable eight urban law enforcement agencies to each train two officers as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), while Maryland plans to conduct two DRE training courses as well as expand the number of officers that will be trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). With the uptick in the use of multiple impairing substances, it is imperative that drug use is captured at the time of arrest. These training programs are currently the best line of defense in a highway safety environment without scientifically validated legal intoxication limits for marijuana and other drugs.
Training law enforcement officials on forensic phlebotomy and bolstering toxicology programs. Illinois’ grant will enable eight law enforcement officials to receive forensic phlebotomy training. This reduces the amount of time an officer is off the street processing an impaired driver and the costs because law enforcement agencies do not need to pay phlebotomists or hospital fees for blood draws. It also simplifies the evidentiary chain of custody since fewer people are handling the blood sample. Maryland and Wyoming will use grant funds to benchmark toxicology best practices and improve toxicology training. Testing for impairing drugs is critical for uncovering motorists’ substance use problems, which is central to the individualized justice approach. Failure to test undermines impaired driving prevention. Wyoming’s goal is to develop an accredited toxicology unit that can provide confirmatory analysis necessary for court cases.
Analyzing impacts of oral fluid testing and advancing programs to support effective evidence collection using oral fluid testing.GHSA will educate State Highway Safety Offices and law enforcement agencies about oral fluid test programs. Unlike blood draws, oral fluid tests are a quick, minimally invasive and painless way to collect a sample close to the time the driver was operating a vehicle. They are a more reliable indicator of the presence of drugs at the time of the stop and comparable to preliminary breath tests. However, they cannot conclusively determine the level of impairment but can be used to collect evidence as part of a broader impaired driving investigation. The only way to determine impairment is through officer observations and field sobriety tests which underscore the importance of this grant program.
Ensuring law enforcement officers have the skills and tools necessary to safely stop trucks and other large vehicles. Washington State plans to establish a commercial motor vehicle driving under the influence training pilot for law enforcement officials. Washington is one of many states that have adoptedthe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations for commercial drivers and alcohol, which set a 0.04 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. This is half the BAC limit for non-commercial drivers in all states except Utah (which has a .05 BAC).
Screening and assessing impaired drivers to provide effective community supervision and reduce risk of repeat offenses. Minnesota will use its grant to evaluate the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) process conducted by the St. Louis County DWI Court, with a goal of expanding SBIRT to other DWI courts across the state. SBIRT is an evidence-based approach to identifying individuals who use alcohol and other drugs at risky levels.
Implementing innovative partnerships to combat impaired driving. Missouri will use its grant to explore new ways to address impaired driving through a partnership with the Missouri Safety Center, that will include examining new and successful programs employed by other states.
“Last year over 10,000 people in the United States died in preventable impaired driving crashes. It is an honor to support innovative state efforts to address alcohol, drug and multi-substance impaired driving and remove high-risk impaired drivers from the roadways,” said Dr. Darrin T. Grondel, Responsibility.org’s Vice President of Traffic Safety and Government Relations.
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; Mast-Jägermeister US; Moët Hennessy USA; and Pernod Ricard USA. Recognizing 29 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 and offers proven strategies to stop impaired driving. To learn more, visit www.responsibility.org.
The Can Do Community Challenge, an extension of the Can Do Colorado campaign that is spotlighting innovative businesses finding ways to keep going through the COVID-19 response, is asking local communities and their resident businesses to find new opportunities to restart commerce in ways that are safe and sustainable.
Lessons learned from the rapid adoption of teleworking and the ensuing benefits from better air quality and reduced traffic can help businesses and commercial centers reopen safely, sustain some telework practices, extend the benefits of reduced air pollution and traffic for everyone, and find innovative ways to reuse public spaces and help more businesses thrive in a world of social distancing.
Departments and organizations throughout state government are offering a wide array of resources, including at least $5 million in grant funding and expert technical assistance to help reopen the economy safely while making progress towards important health and community vitality goals. Additional efforts are focused on helping essential workers, who were often underpaid and underappreciated, find safe and sustainable ways to continue their heroic work for us all.
Click here to explore CDOT Grant Programs to help support this initiative
Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager 303.757-9484 (desk) | 303-859-1304 (cell)firstname.lastname@example.org
July 1, 2020
Fourth of July DUI enforcement period begins tomorrow
CDOT campaign offers 50 percent off BACtrack breathalyzers as summer heats up
STATEWIDE — While many Coloradans celebrate Fourth of July weekend, statewide law enforcement officers will keep their eyes out for impaired drivers. From July 2-6, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies will conduct the Fourth of July DUI enforcement period to prevent impaired drivers from endangering themselves and others on the road. CDOT is also introducing a new campaign, Take Some Time, to encourage the use of smartphone breathalyzers as a way to prevent impaired driving.
So far in 2020, of the 215 fatalities on Colorado roads, 66 fatalities, or 31 percent, have involved an impaired driver. During the Fourth of July five-day DUI enforcement period, 73 law enforcement agencies will increase patrols. During last year’s Fourth of July enforcement period, 311 DUI arrests were made.
"The Fourth of July is a moment when, together, we celebrate our country. While everyone is eager to get out and celebrate over the holiday weekend -- especially this year -- we have a duty to keep ourselves and each other safe at the same time," said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. "We tend to see more impaired driving around summer holidays like the one coming up, and this year it is imperative that we all do our part to end that dangerous trend. The simple things we do to stay safe--wearing masks, social distancing, or getting a sober ride--are the fine margin between a fun holiday and a preventable disaster."
During the recent Summer Blitz enforcement period, 89 law enforcement agencies arrested 397 impaired drivers on Colorado roads from June 14-24. Compared to the 585 motorists cited for impaired driving during the same period in 2019, this was a decrease in total arrests. Among the participating law enforcement agencies, Colorado Springs, Denver and Loveland police departments reported the highest DUI arrests.
“Summer holidays are a reason to celebrate safely and responsibly,” said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of CSP. “Planning a sober ride home beforehand ensures that you won’t endanger yourself or others on the road. Law enforcement will always be on the road, so remember to drive sober or not at all.”
Starting this weekend, Coloradans can expect to see CDOT’s latest DUI prevention campaign across the state on billboards, buildings, in liquor stores, and on social media reminding people to wait the appropriate amount of time between consuming alcohol and driving.
The Fourth of July also marks the start of another partnership between CDOT and BACtrack®, a leading personal breathalyzer company. CDOT is teaming up with BACtrack to offer Colorado residents the chance to buy a personal breathalyzer for 50 percent off in an effort to make breathalyzers more accessible, educate Coloradans about blood alcohol content (BAC) levels, and ultimately reduce impaired driving. For more information about previous CDOT and BACtrack breathalyzer campaigns, visit heatisoncolorado.com.
This discount will be available through Sept. 15, or while supplies last. Colorado residents can visit codot.bactrack.comto purchase either the BACtrack Mobile Pro, Trace Pro, C8, or C6.
“We’re excited to continue this partnership with CDOT to make breathalyzers more accessible to Coloradans,” said Keith Nothacker, founder and CEO of BACtrack. “This exclusive discount is made possible because of CDOT and BACtrack’s shared values: safety, building awareness about alcohol consumption and impaired driving, and providing resources to make responsible decisions.”
BACtrack’s ZeroLine® technology estimates how long it will be before a person’s BAC returns to zero after drinking. ZeroLine is featured in the C8 model, and also in the BACtrack app, which is compatible with the Mobile Pro and C6.
For more information on CDOT’s efforts to keep Colorado roads safe this summer, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips, visit https://www.codot.gov/safety.
ABOUT THE HEAT IS ON
The CDOT Highway Safety Office provides funding to Colorado law enforcement for impaired driving enforcement, education and awareness campaigns. The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year, with 16 specific high-visibility impaired driving enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. Enforcement periods can include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. Find more details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips at HeatIsOnColorado.com.
Safe transportation infrastructure is essential for emergency first responders and freight drivers as Colorado navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, road maintenance and construction continues on CDOT projects with social distancing and other health safety measures to reduce COVID-19 exposure on the worksite. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced guidelines for construction activities. The public is urged to join the campaign for #DoingMyPartCO by practicing social distancing, wearing face masks, staying at home when possible, and avoiding nonessential travel. With fewer vehicles on the roads, CDOT crews will be able to work more efficiently and safely.
WHOLE SYSTEM. WHOLE SAFETY.
In early 2019, CDOT announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. This initiative takes a systematic, statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely.
CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Gov. Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.
Like many of you, we are digesting the much-needed critique of white-centered urbanism and identifying how we are complicit in that as we walk our walk.
Our mission states that everyone should have safe, equitable, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and move. Yet, we know the system by which our cities are planned and designed, is built on the foundation of structural racism.
We commit to promoting an anti-racist walking movement with an active interrogation of the power dynamics of mobility justice and dismantling oppression in land use and transportation decision making.
As we continue to listen and learn, our current actions include:
Centering Black, Indigenous and people of color’s voices on our platform and in our publications, moving out of the way to feature those with the lived experience to lead.
Only supporting projects and initiatives that address structural racism and implement anti-racist efforts.
Following the direction of BIPOC urbanist and mobility experts to operationalize the steps required to transform systems and promote the actions most likely to create anti-racist walkable environments.
Below are thought-provoking pieces that helped us question the ways we work, and for whom. We invite you to read them to continue listening, learning and seeking necessary discomfort alongside us.