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Drug per se laws: a review of their use in the states : traffic tech.
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  • Abstract:
    Research has indicated that per se laws for alcohol have been

    effective in reducing alcohol-related fatalities. A difficulty

    in prosecuting drivers for driving impaired by drugs other

    than alcohol is that there is no scientific basis for specifying

    a bodily fluid concentration that is indicative of impairment.

    Successful prosecution has typically involved establishing

    behavioral evidence of impairment coupled with evidence of

    drug use, with the opinion that the drug use is likely to have

    caused the impairment.

    Several States have implemented per se laws for drugs. Drug

    per se laws are not quite analogous to the alcohol impaireddriving

    per se laws now in effect in every State which make

    it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration

    (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or greater.

    Alcohol-impaired-driving per se laws are based on evidence

    that all drivers are impaired at a BAC of .08 g/dL. Drug per

    se laws are more analogous to zero-tolerance laws that make

    it illegal to drive with certain drugs in the system.

    The objective of this project was to determine the extent to

    which States that have drug per se laws use them, and document

    any special concerns that arise when making and prosecuting

    an arrest under a drug per se law.

    The National HighwayTraffic SafetyAdministration was also

    interested in determining whether these laws are effective

    in increasing driving under the influence of drugs (DUID)

    arrests and convictions. To learn about drug per se laws,

    NHTSA contracted with the Pacific Institute for Research

    and Evaluation (PIRE).

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