Drugged driving commission submits recommendations to State House

BOSTON (WHDH) - With five recreational marijuana shops now open for business in Massachusetts, experts are urging lawmakers to take action to prevent drugged driving.

A special commision studying drug-impaired driving has submitted recommendations to beef up the states Drug Recognition Expert Program.

Peter Elikann, a member of the commission says the suggestions will make it easier to prosecute drugged driving incidents and even prevent them from happening in the future.

“At the very least, this will raise everyone’s consciousness about how bad it is to drive under the influence of marijuana,” he said.

DREs go through special training to try to prove that a driver is high on pot by using physical and mental tests.

There are about 150 DREs working in Massachusetts. The commission wants to double that number of statewide and to give them the power to confiscate a person’s drivers license if they refuse to participate in the tests.

Members of the commission also suggested that DREs should be allowed to testify as experts in court.

These are recommendations that the state’s DRE coordinator, Don Decker, is calling “an important tool for public safety.”

The commission also wants the open container law for marijuana to match that for alcohol.

“It was just such a concern that with the legalization of marijuana that there may be more people driving impaired,” Elikann said.

It is unclear where the money to pay for these extra DREs will come from at this time.

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