NTSB calls for drug testing standards

The National Transportation Safety Board has called for new standards applicable to roadside drug testing devices in Illinois and across the U.S. The NTSB asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to come up with the standards and provide states with further guidance about how to deal with drug-impaired driving as more states legalize marijuana and more people abuse prescription drugs.

The recommendations come after an NTSB investigation into a crash that left 13 people dead in rural Texas. The crash was caused by the driver of a pickup truck who was reportedly under the influence of marijuana and a prescription anti-anxiety medication. The pickup truck driver collided head-on with a bus owned by a church. Another driver on the road submitted video showing that the pickup truck repeatedly crossing the center line and veering onto the shoulder for a period of 15 minutes.

Evidence indicates that drug-impaired driving deaths have increased substantially since the levels of opiate and marijuana use have increased. According to the NTSB, 30 percent of drivers who died in car accidents and were tested for drugs in 2006 were found to have drugs in their systems. In 2015, the number rose to 46 percent.

Data gathered by the NHTSA showed that more than 22 percent of drivers evidenced drug use during random testing. The NTSB says that law enforcement personnel should have better training to spot drug-impaired driving along with oral fluid tests that can be administered during traffic stops.

Better testing methods may reduce the number of drug-related car accidents going forward. People who are charged with drug-related driving offenses might want to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer with experience in criminal law may be able to help by arguing against license revocation or by challenging the admissibility of prosecution evidence in some cases.

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