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ALEA reports increase in drug-impaired drivers; programs in place to keep you safe on the road

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 7:34 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Drunk drivers are not the only concern for Alabama state troopers heading into Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Drug-impaired drivers are also a growing problem.

Senior Trooper Brandon Bailey with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency urges drivers to think twice and know the consequences before getting behind the wheel this holiday week. He said there will be an increased number of officers on the roads through the new year.

“We have to take the necessary precautions and measures to make sure that we keep the streets safe for the citizens of the state of Alabama,” Bailey said.

According to Trooper Bailey, there are a number of training programs in place to ensure officers spot and handle drug-impaired drivers in all areas. The goal is to mitigate the growing trend of drug-impaired drivers and remind Alabamians that alcohol is not the only substance you can be caught for.

“These programs are teaching troopers to look for things other than alcohol that might be impairing these drivers who are on the roadway,” Bailey said. “For instance, we have something called ARIDE, Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement. And we have DRE, Drug Recognition Expert.”

  • ARIDE: Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement
  • DREs: Drug Recognition Experts

Trooper Bailey also discussed an important law drivers should be aware of this holiday week: Implied consent. It was updated in the spring and gives greater consequences to drivers who refuse to take an oral fluid drug test, post-arrest.

“So the new implied consent law, it gives a penalty for the refusal of a blood or saliva test where in the past, the only time we could receive that from the driver or whoever we are trying to get it from is through a court order or through consent of that person,” Bailey said.

But now, if a driver refuses to comply with the oral fluid drug test, their license is suspended.

“A lot of times I think the word got out where all you have to do is refuse a test, but now if you refuse a test it carries a consequence behind it...A suspension of your license,” Bailey said.

Although you may not be working this week, Trooper Bailey wants drivers to know that law enforcement is in full force. He hopes everybody will be smart and do their part to keep the roads safe.

“A lot of people have the mentality, it can’t happen to me...Until it happens,” Bailey said. “So we want to put that message out there…think twice before you drink or do any type of drugs and decide to get behind the wheel.”

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