In Kentucky and elsewhere across the United States, legal restrictions regarding marijuana usage and vehicle operation are unclear. There are no standardized testing procedures across jurisdictions for marijuana-induced impairment other than traditional field sobriety tests. This makes it difficult for authorities to know when and how to charge a driver who is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs. When alcohol is clearly not a factor, this problem can lead to drivers being charged improperly.
In order to address this issue in greater detail, the National Transportation Safety Board has called on other governmental agencies to examine the development of testing devices that specifically measure impairment related to marijuana usage. The reason for this push is partially due to a study that found that 46 percent of drivers who were killed in 2015 traffic accidents tested positive for drugs.
Another incident cited as a cause for regulation by the NTSB involved a 2017 pickup truck crash in which the driver was found to be impaired by marijuana as well as anti-anxiety medication. In addition, the NTSB has voiced its concern about the increase in opiate use, dependence and impairment among drivers across the United States.
In response, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an ad campaign that directly addresses the issue of drug-related impairment and driving. The administration has also held public meetings to discuss these concerns in Nashville, Seattle and Baltimore.
Drivers who have been charged with driving while intoxicated often find it beneficial to consult with a DUI attorney. Due to the differences in state laws regarding the legality and regulated use of substances like marijuana, authorities could make mistakes in charging individuals with improper penalties. In such cases, a DUI attorney may be able to have charges dismissed.