BACKGROUND For decades, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted research and developed programs and resources to reduce alcohol- and drug-impaired driving.
It is refining problem identification, improving enforcement strategies, and developing countermeasures.
knowledge and practice on drug-impaired driving is many years behind alcohol-impaired driving.
Matters such as the national opioid epidemic, States legalizing marijuana to varying degrees, and the widespread use of prescription medications are leading to a growing concern with drug use and driving.
NHTSA’s 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers reported that 2 0. 1% of all drivers surveyed on weekend nights tested positive for some drug, legal and/or illegal, other than alcohol, a statistically significant increase from the 1 6. 3% of drug-positive drivers found in 200 7. The survey also found tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) presence increased from 8. 7% of drivers in 2007 to 1 2. 7% in 2013-201 4. A study by Washington State reported that 3 9. 1% of drivers admitted to driving within 3 hours of using marijuana at least once in the previous year, and the biological results from the survey indicated that the presence of marijuana in drivers surveyed had doubled, from approximately 10% to 20% of all drivers, after the state’s implementation of retail marijuana sales.
A NHTSA roadside survey in Washington State found similar results, with 7. 8% of drivers testing positive for presence of marijuana before legalization in the state, with 1 8. 4% testing positive for presence of marijuana six months after legalization and 1 8. 9% testing positive for marijuana one year after legalization.
There is clear evidence of increases in the number of drivers with drugs present in their system.
The many inconsistencies in the biological evidence collected, tested, and reported across jurisdictions greatly impedes our ability to understand the magnitude and scope of drug-impaired driving.
There are also inconsistencies across the country regarding which drivers are tested for drug use, what specimens are collected for testing, what drugs are tested for, and what cutoff levels are used for drug tests.
Toxicology programs vary across the States from comprehensive coordinated efforts, to ad-hoc testing or the need to send samples out of State for analysis.
In a number of States, toxicology programs vary between jurisdictions in the state.
This demonstration project aims to benefit State toxicology programs through increased personnel resources that will improve communications, criminal justice system coordination, processing time of toxicology samples and data reporting.
The project will support the establishment of a Toxicology Liaison that support States in NHTSA regions 5, 7, and 9, to assist with training, collaboration and the standardization of testing across State labs and the reporting of data to better understand the scope of the drug-impaired driving problem.
Toxicology Liaisons will work with stakeholders to strengthen programs to increase testing for drug-impaired driving, identify drug-impaired drivers, and generate more high-quality data on the problem.
Toxicology Liaisons will work with State labs and Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) analysts to ensure comprehensive and consistent toxicological data is collected to better inform the public and public policy on this growing public health problem.PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVE The purpose of this Cooperative Agreement (CA or Agreement) is to establish a Toxicology Liaison Program to support toxicology in NHTSA regions 5, 7, and 9. To achieve this purpose and objective, the Recipient will establish three (3) liaisons to accomplish the following to:
· Develop an understanding of the scope and prevalence of drug-impaired driving problems through improved data collection and toxicology testing;· Find common ground among testing laboratories across jurisdictions;· Improve drug-impaired driving toxicology data collection and reporting; and· Increase coordination and communication among toxicology labs and drug-impaired driving partners with the state.
Performance goals and indicators of success will include a better understanding of the prevalence of drug-impaired driving problems through toxicology testing and data collection.
The indicators for these outcomes will include, but are not limited to, the completion of reports, assessments, the number of outreach and technical support events including, webinars, seminars and meetings.
NHTSA successful past projects include Regional Judicial Outreach Liaisons through the American Bar Association who work with the criminal justice system within states to coordinate communications, sharing of information and data, knowledge on evidenced base sanctioning and improve data collection and reporting and Law Enforcement Liaisons through the Governors Highway Safety Association who conduct outreach and coordinate communications with state and local law enforcement agencies.
PROGRAM AUTHORITY NHTSA may enter into an assistance agreement with a State or local agency, authority, association, institution, or person to carry out activities authorized by the Highway Safety Act of 1966, P.L.
89-564, as amended (see 23 U.S.C.