WASHINGTON — Congressman Troy Balderson, R-OH, and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, D-NY, Friday introduced the bipartisan Drug-Impaired Driving Education Act, which would establish a $5 million federal grant program for the first two years after the bill is enacted for states to educate the public on the dangers of drug-impaired driving.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 3,915 drugged driving crashes on Ohio’s roadways in 2019.

“When someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, entire communities are put at risk,” said Balderson. “Sadly, this is a fact we know all too well in the state of Ohio, where the opioid epidemic has taken a significant toll. This legislation takes critical steps to educate our communities about the risks associated with drug-impaired driving, including those driving under the influence of opioids and marijuana.”

Congress has previously funded efforts to train authorities to better detect and deter drug-impaired driving, but there remains a need for public education and awareness of this growing problem. The new federal grant program established by the Drug-Impaired Driving Education Act would specifically provide funding to states to address this critical need.

“Despite common misconceptions, drug-impaired driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, and that’s why this bill to expand public education and awareness is so important,” said Rice. “I’ve been working on these issues for my entire career, and I have seen the immense pain and tragedy that they can cause far too many times. I thank Rep. Balderson and the many advocacy groups who are supporting this legislation. We must keep working together until we can end impaired and distracted driving once and for all.”

The Drug-Impaired Driving Education Act has been endorsed by Responsibility.org, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), National Safety Council (NSC), National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA).

“We commend Rep. Kathleen Rice and Rep. Troy Balderson for introducing their bipartisan legislation, the Drug Impaired Driving Education Act of 2020, which will fund much-needed state education efforts on the dangers of drugged driving,” said Darrin T. Grondel, Vice President of Traffic Safety and Government Relations for Responsibility.org.


Staff Report