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Bench Tools, Judicial Guides, and Other

The Path to Success: A DWI Case Sentencing Guide. NHTSA & NJC (2022). 

            This is helpful a two-page benchcard for sentencing DWI offenders.  

Ability-to-pay Checklist. NCSC (2021).

This two-page checklist from the National Task Force on Fines, Fees, and Bail Practice runs through some of the considerations to give decisions around ability to pay.

National Impaired Driving Prevention Month Toolkit, National Center for DWI Courts (2021). 

            This small booklet gives tips and suggestions for  hosting an Impaired Driving Prevention Month related event, including              sample media releases. 

Impaired Driving Resource Guide. New York (2020).

This “how to” guide for judges presiding over impaired driving cases in New York can be a model for other jurisdictions to adopt and implement. The idea is that the judge photocopies the relevant page for the stage of the proceeding, follows the steps, and uses the boxes to check off each step as it is completed.

Glossary of Impaired Driving Terms. New York (2020).

This glossary of terms can help newer judges unfamiliar with impaired driving cases learn the lingo. 

Drugged Driving Fact Sheets, Generally

Drug-Impaired Driving in the United States. CDC (December 2020).

This fact sheet explains that data shows over 12 million Americans drove under the influence of marijuana and/or other illicit drugs during 2018. The fact sheet discusses what is known about drug-impaired driving and promising strategies to address and prevent drug-impaired driving.


Overview of Motor Vehicle Crashes, NHTSA (December 2020).

This fact sheet summarizes 2019 data on motor vehicle fatalities and fatal crashes, as well as analyzing trends in crash and fatality data from the previous ten years. Traffic fatalities decreased nationwide in 2019, from 36,835 fatalities in 2018 to 36,096 fatalities in 2019. Even with a 0.8% increase in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2019, the fatality rate decreased from 1.14 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2018 to 1.10 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2019. That rate is the lowest since 2014. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities continued to decline in 2019, accounting for 28% of all traffic fatalities.

DrugFacts: Drugged Driving, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (December 2019).

This site answers common questions about what drugged driving is, how often it happens and the dangers of driving drugged.

Presence of Drugs in Drivers; Quick Facts. NHTSA (2019).

A handy two-page infographic showing they types of drugs detected through toxicology results.

Traffic Safety Facts: Understanding the Limitations of Drug Test Information, Reporting, and Testing Practices in Fatal Crashes, NHTSA (November 2014). 


Marijuana Studies & Reports

Marijuana-Impaired Driving: A Report to Congress, NHTSA (July 2017).

The report describes the absorption, distribution and elimination of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana, in the body. It contrasts this process with the absorption, distribution and elimination of alcohol in the body, as they are very different processes. The poor correlation of THC concentrations in the blood with impairment is discussed, along with the implication that setting per se levels is not meaningful. Some of the challenges of measuring driving impairment resulting from marijuana use are reviewed. State laws relating to marijuana and driving are presented. What is known about the prevalence of marijuana-impaired driving and the crash risk associated with marijuana-impaired driving is reviewed.

Traffic Safety Impacts of Marijuana Legislation. Governors Highway Safety Administration (October 2018).

As of October 2018, nine states have legalized recreational marijuana, and similar legislation has been proposed in at least 20 others. As states consider changing their laws, it is important to take into account the traffic safety ramifications legalized marijuana may have.

Cannabis and Road Safety: Policy Challenges, TIRF (October 2016).

This study collected information regarding standing drugged driving policy and analyzed areas in which drugged driving policy needs to progress.


Prosecution & Sentencing

Treatment or Punishment: Sentencing Options in DWI Cases, Court Review (June 2018).

This article analyzes the role of the legal system in the reduction of DWI offenses and compares sentencing options designed to rehabilitate with sentences designed to punish offenders for serious driving offenses.

Challenges and Defenses II: Claims and Responses to Common Challenges and Defenses in Driving While Impaired Cases, NHTSA (March 2013).

DUI cases have become some of the most complex in the criminal justice system. As a result, defense challenges are being raised more frequently and are more procedural and scientific in nature. These challenges range from the initial law enforcement stop of the vehicle to the testing procedures used to determine alcohol concentration in blood, breath, and urine samples to possible alternative explanations for those results. This monograph was developed to assist prosecutors and law enforcement in understanding the nature of these challenges.

Guides for States

Practices for Implementing Expedited Search Warrant Programs for Obtaining Evidence From Impaired Drivers, NHTSA (April 2021).

In general, expedited search warrant systems for impaired driving arrests enable law enforcement officers to request a warrant from a judge on any day and at any time, provide users with enhanced accessibility to obtain warrants (e.g., available on phones, tablets, and computers), and allow for quicker capture of blood and/or urine samples, thereby ensuring more accurate evidence. This report provides successful practices for implementing expedited warrants as well as case studies from several agencies who have seen benefits from using expedited warrants.

Drug Impaired Driving: A Guide for States, Governors Highway Safety Administration (April 2017).

This guide summarizes the most current research and laws surrounding marijuana, other drugs, and drugged driving. The guide gives background on the chemistry of drugs, talks about the prosecution process, and gives recommendations for education and research programs.

Fresno County (CA) Remote Video Proceeding Q&A, NCSC (August 2017).

This Q&A with Fresno Superior Court staff discusses Fresno County's remote video proceeding system for traffic offenses, designed to improve access to traffic courts in a county covering a large geographic area.

Research Articles

Brubacher, Jeffrey R., Herbert Chan, Shannon Erdelyi, Mark Asbridge, Robert E. Mann, Roy A. Purssell, and Robert Solomon. "Police Documentation of Drug Use in Injured Drivers: Implications for Monitoring and Preventing Drug-Impaired Driving." 118 Accident Analysis & Prevention (September 2018): 200-206.

This article examines police crash reports with toxicology results, findings that police documented alcohol involvement in two-thirds of drinking drivers, but police rarely identified drivers who had used drugs or medications. The implications of these findings and the enforcement of impaired driving laws are also discussed. 

Hall, Wayne. "How Should We Respond to Cannabis-Impaired Driving?", 37 Drug and Alcohol Review 1 (January 2018): 3-5.

This editorial piece outlines many of the challenges in measuring cannabis impairment and policy implications. 

Hartman, Rebecca L., Timothy L. Brown, Gary Milavetz, Andrew Spurgin, David A. Gorelick, Gary R. Gaffney, and Marilyn A. Huestis. "Effect of Blood Collection Time on Measured Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Concentrations: Implications for Driving Interpretation and Drug Policy." 62 Clinical Chemistry 2 (February 2016): 367-377.

This study evaluates how decreases in blood THC concentration before collection may affect interpretation of toxicological results.

Gjerde, Hallvard, and Jørg Mørland. "Risk for Involvement in Road Traffic Crash During Acute Cannabis Intoxication." 111 Addiction 8 (June 2016): 1492-1495.

This research article overviews numerous studies examining cannabis intoxication levels and increased risk of traffic accidents, and discusses limitations with said studies and measures. Discusses complications with measuring intoxication due to slow dispersion of cannabis into blood and rapid decreases in ng/L, and differences in the rate of decrease between frequent and infrequent users.

Hetland, Amanda, and David B. Carr. "Medications and Impaired Driving." 48 Annals of Pharmacotherapy 4 (January 2014): 494-506.

This article summarizes previous research findings on the association of specific medication classes with driving outcomes, demonstrating increased risk of accidents with use of certain medications.

Arria, Amelia M., Kimberly M. Caldeira, Kathryn B. Vincent, Laura M. Garnier-Dykstra and Kevin E. O’Grady. “Substance-Related Traffic-Risk Behaviors among College Students.” 118 Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2-3 (November 2011):306-312.

This study attempts to estimate how often individuals are driving drugged or are a passenger in a car being driven by someone under the influence, compare age, sex and race differences concerning drugged driving and riding, examine the relationship between drugs, alcohol and driving, and finally examine the relationship between dependency and drugged/drunk driving.

Voas, Robert B., Robert L. DuPont, Stephen K. Talpins and Corinne L. Shea. “Towards a National Model for Managing Impaired Driving Offenders.” 106 Addiction 7 (July 2011): 1221-1227.

This article aims to identify intervention methods in order to prevent recidivism of impaired drivers. The authors propose that a national model of intervention that focuses on inhibiting an individual from future drinking and drug use through interlock technology on their cars as well as appropriate sanctions for noncompliance.

Lenné, Michael G., Paul M. Dietze, Thomas J. Triggs, Susan Walmsley, Brendan Murphy and Jennifer R. Redman. “The Effects of Cannabis and Alcohol on Simulated Arterial Driving: Influences of Driving Experience and Task Demand.” 42 Accident Analysis & Prevention 3 (May 2010): 859-866.

This study examines a person’s ability to control a car after smoking marijuana and after drinking alcohol. The researchers contrasted low and high doses of both alcohol and marijuana with placebos among experience and inexperienced drivers. In addition, some subjects were under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol. The authors found that high levels of cannabis were impairing, while alcohol at the levels provided was not. In addition, the combination of both drugs did not increase how impaired drivers were.

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