February 19, 2013


Sacramento - State Senator Lou Correa (D – Santa Ana), joined by state-wide law enforcement and victims’ rights groups, introduced Senate Bill (SB) 289, a measure that would establish a zero tolerance policy for driving under the influence of drugs.

“Driving under the influence of illegal drugs is dangerous and cannot be tolerated. Creating a zero tolerance drugged driving policy will equip law enforcement with the tools needed to keep our communities and roads safe,” said Correa. 

The percentage of drivers testing positive for illegal drugs has increased dramatically over the last decade. Unlike the .08 blood alcohol content standard, there is no statutory threshold for drug impaired driving. Though state and local law enforcement agencies are making efforts to better train officers to detect drugged driving, the prosecution of drug impaired drivers is often difficult and complicated under California Law.

“The California State Sheriffs' Association is pleased to co-sponsor SB 289," said CSSA President, Sheriff Keith Royal.

"Establishing a zero tolerance approach enables law enforcement to more effectively address driving while under the influence of drugs. We look forward to working with the Legislature to address the issue of drugged driving and ensure that the roadways are safe in our communities," added Sheriff Royal.

Sponsored by the California State Sheriffs’ Association, California Police Chiefs Association, California Narcotics Officers Association and International Faith Based Coalition, SB 289 would join 17 other states and make it illegal for a person to drive a vehicle if his or her blood contains any detectable amount of Schedule I, II, III or IV drugs. SB 289 excludes medicine used with a valid prescription issued by a licensed health care practitioner. Over the counter medication (allergy, cold and cough medicine) do not require a prescription and thus are NOT a scheduled/controlled drug.

Retired California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Robert McGrory’s son Justin, who followed in is fathers’ footsteps and joined the CHP, was tragically struck and killed during a routine traffic stop by a drug impaired driver. “My issue is not with the young man who killed my son. Clearly the law as written does not have the teeth necessary to prosecute drugged drivers,” said Officer McGrory.

“Impaired driving is dangerous and completely preventable. If you have drugs in your system you should not be on the road,” added Correa.

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