Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY); Photo Courtesy AP
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Two U.S. senators are proposing that federal grants be used for research and to train police to identify the rising number of drivers operating under the influence of drugs.
Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Mark Pryor of Arkansas say police have no equipment and few have training to identify drugged drivers, who behave differently than drunken drivers.
Schumer says drugged driving arrests rose 35 percent in New York since 2001. But he says that's a fraction of the cases.
Schumer says studies show the explosion of abuse of prescription drugs means the dangerous driving is done far more often, but police need the tools and training to identify it.
Two boys were recently killed in New York accidents in which drugs may have played a role.
Throughout New York State, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, there were a total of 2,248 drugged driving arrests in 2011 (not including those identified at the same time as an alcoholic related DWI stop), up from 1,669 in 2001, representing a 35% increase over the last decade.
• In the Capital Region and North Country, there were a total of 248 drugged driving arrests in 2011, up from 199 in 2001
• In Central New York, there were 147 drugged driving arrests in 2011, up from 112 in 2001
• In the lower Hudson Valley, there were a total of 232 drugged driving arrests in 2011, up from 145 in 2001
• In the Rochester Finger Lakes region, there were 114 drug driving arrests in 2011, up from 73 in 2001
• In the Southern Tier, there were 90 drugged driving arrests in 2011, up from 87 in 2001
• In Western New York, there were 182 drugged driving arrests, up from 65 in 2001
• In New York City, there were a total of 357 drugged driving arrests in 2011, up from 81 in 2001
• On Long Island, there were a total of 530 drugged driving arrests in 2011, up from 377 in 2001