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ATRI: Pot Plus Driving Poses Safety Challenge

With more states legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana, professional truck drivers are more likely to be sharing the roadway with car drivers operating under the influence of marijuana, the American Transportation Research Institute said upon releasing research on the subject.

ATRI said its research sought to document the most promising methods to identify and deter marijuana-impaired driving.

The study recommends:

Increased data collection on the frequency and impacts of marijuana-impaired driving

Public education and information on the risks of impaired driving

Better equipping law enforcement and the court system to intercept and ultimately prosecute impaired drivers

Targeting tax revenue generated from marijuana sales to fund these activities.

“It is extremely concerning to motor carriers and our drivers that recreational marijuana is legal in so many states, yet as the ATRI report documents, a valid and widely accepted breathalyzer-type test is not available to law enforcement,” Mike Card, Combined Transport, Inc. president said in a March 13 statement issued along with the report. “ATRI’s study clearly defines a role for federal and state leaders to support law enforcement and others in keeping the roadways safe from those who choose to drive high.”

The report highlights the importance of training law enforcement to identify and collect evidence of marijuana-impaired driving, particularly through the development of more drug recognition experts. “As ATRI’s research identifies, a key tool for combating drugged drivers is deploying additional drug recognition experts,” said Mark Savage, deputy chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “A drug recognition expert can bring critical evidence to prosecutors that other tests simply cannot measure.”

To download a copy of the report click here.

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in research relating to freight transportation’s role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.

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