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Impaired Driving

You can’t drive safely if you’re impaired. That’s why it’s illegal everywhere in America to drive under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, or any potentially impairing drug–prescribed or over the counter. Driving while impaired by any substance—legal or illegal—puts you and others in harm’s way.1

Yet, almost every year, about one-third of all deaths on our roads involve drunk drivers.  Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes.In 2017 alone, 10,874 people were killed in preventable drunk driving crashes—that’s one person every 48 minutes.2An average drunk driver has driven drunk over 80 times before first arrest.344 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs in 2016. That number is up from 2006, when just 28-percent of fatally injured drivers were drug-positive.157% of fatally injured drivers had alcohol and/or other drugs in their system – 17% had both.4During weekday daytime, 12.1% of drivers tested positive for an illegal drug; 10.3% tested positive for prescription and OTC medications. During weekend nighttime, 15.2% of drivers tested positive for an illegal drug; 7.3% tested positive for prescription and OTC medications.5

In addition to deaths and injuries, impaired driving harms individuals and communities in many ways. For example:

  • Injured persons, their families, and their employers suffer financial losses when an injured person cannot work
  • Vehicles, trees, utility poles, highway signs, and buildings, are damaged and destroyed
  • Motor vehicle insurance rates rise, even for non-offenders
  • Traffic flow is impeded by vehicles crashed by drunk drivers
  • Fire, EMS, and ER resources are consumed treating the victims of drunk driving crashes
  • Court and jail resources are consumed prosecuting and incarcerating drunk drivers6

One of the many facets of a police officer’s job is to protect citizens from people who are driving under the influence.  Our roadways should be safe not only for those driving, but also for pedestrians, bicyclists, and first responders who are rushing to an emergency.  Crashes resulting from dangerous and impaired driving are preventable.

The New Milford Police Department maintains the goal to reduce the collisions involving alcohol and narcotics. The main function is the detection and apprehension of drivers who are suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. All officers receive training on the detection and apprehension of DUI drivers with many of our officers receiving additional training in advanced impaired driving detection and enforcement.  The New Milford Police Department also employs a Drug Recognition Expert.  Drug Recognition Experts or Drug Recognition Evaluators (DRE) are law enforcement officers trained to recognize impairment in individuals under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.  A DRE conducts a detailed, diagnostic examination of persons arrested or suspected of drug impaired driving and may perform evaluations for many other investigations where persons are suspected of being impaired.

4 NHTSA-https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811415
MADD – https://www.madd.org/statistics/