Recently James and I went on a “road trip” to DC to discuss We Save Lives and highway Safety, especially drugged driving. We met with a number of safety officials and organizations including NHTSA’s Acting Administrator, David Friedman and other NHTSA staff. David is a very warm and friendly person, open to our suggestions and promising to take them back to his team after our visit. Our discussion centered on drugged driving and we asked them to use “their bully pulpit” to force more drug testing. There are several suggestions on how this could be accomplished.
1) They could make a DUID specific initiative and look at requiring more data, or a separation of data, where DUID results would be reported separately in FARS, every time that alcohol is reported via the preliminary oral exam once saliva testing is commonplace.
2) Attach more grant funding to help accomplish this task
3) Improve their website Impaired driving section to include more DUID information, currently it has very little.
4) Provide more funding to states to conduct oral fluid testing as they currently are doing in California
5) Host a National Workshop on DUID as they do for distracted driving, to discuss solutions to the drugged driving problem
We also met with Advocates for Highway Safety and asked them to include a DUID component in their road map for Highway Safety. We listed our priorities including:
They agreed to take our suggestions back to their board of directors.
We had other successful meetings including a DUID workshop initiated by one of our partners that brought together judges, DRE’s, advocates, etc. all interested in working on drugged driving.
We Save Lives still believes that to solve the problem of drugged driving we need a national dialogue on DUID, bringing together stakeholders interested in solutions. We have called for this before, we called for it again with Acting Administrator Friedman and recently I spoke out at the annual Lifesaver’s conference and asked NTSB and ONDCP to bring together those stakeholders who work on the issue of drugged driving to find solutions to the problem before it gets worse. We have too many problems and unknowns with this issue and I am tired of hearing about them. So are those family members of victims of drugged driving. We need to act now! THE ONLY WAY we are going to accomplish this is to come together and identify the problems than work together on the solutions.