When a Denver police officer arrests someone for driving while impaired, the state does not track whether that arrest involved alcohol, marijuana, Xanax or other drugs. All Colorado DUI arrests are lumped into a single category.
That makes it impossible for those who want to analyze road safety factors to be certain if more people are driving under the influence of marijuana today than a year ago or if there has been a surge in drunken driving or a drop in driving while impaired by prescription drugs. Some lawmakers want to change that.
According to a newspaper report, a suburban lawmakeris set to propose a bill in the 2016 session to make it possible to track marijuana-related driving violations.
“The motivation is really to be able to have a real discussion with real numbers and real data,” said Rep. Jon Keyser of Morrison. “If this is a problem, we definitely need to address it. But right now we can’t even say if it’s a problem.”
He’s at work drafting a bill to create a separate DUI charge for driving under the influence of pot and other substances, including prescription medications.
In that way, he says, the Department of Transportation, legislators, the executive branch and others can use statistics gathered from arrests when making policy decisions.
There is currently a marijuana legal-limit for DUI, but critics say the test isn’t as reliable as tests for alcohol consumption.
At the beginning of last year, the Colorado State Patrol began tracking marijuana-related driving offenses. The data collected so far indicates that offenses are from month to month steady.
For those facing allegations involving driving under the influence of marijuana, a conversation with a Denver attorney experienced in DUI defense can help make viable legal strategies clear.