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More reliable tests are needed to determine drug impairment

The need for tests to determine if a person is driving while high on drugs is something that has come up quite often recently. Unlike blood alcohol concentration tests, there aren't any reliable tests that can determine a person's current intoxication level for drugs like marijuana. The blood test for marijuana can only determine if a person has used the drug in the past, but it doesn't differentiate between a person who used the drug an hour prior to the test or a month before the test.

The drug in marijuana, THC, is what causes impairment. This is a fat-soluble substance, so it can remain in the body after the impairment has abated. This poses a unique issue for law enforcement officers who are seeking to have a person who seems high taken off the roads. In areas where marijuana usage is legal, law enforcement officers can't just arrest the person for having possession of marijuana, which is one way that they have gotten these drivers off the roads in the past.

Some police officers use field sobriety tests to check for impairment from drugs. This is another problem for some people because these tests are widely subjective. Calls are being made for improved testing that can reliably ascertain if a driver is currently impaired to the point that he or she can't drive.

Experts say that the time is coming soon for the new technology that people are calling for to be made available. Until this happens, people who are suspected of impaired driving because of drugs will have to fight and battle to prove that the testing in their case isn't accurate or reliable. This is something that is likely going to be a challenge.

Source: NPR, "Can Sobriety Tests Weed Out Drivers Who've Smoked Too Much Weed?," Tovia Smith, Jan. 25, 2017

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