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PA Lawmakers Address Drugged Driving Issue, Fearing It Might Get Worse

MONTGOMERY COUNTY (CBS) -- The Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee traveled to Montgomery County Thursday to hear from law enforcement and judicial officials about the growing problem of driving while under the influence of drugs.

Like most other states, Pennsylvania is facing an opioid abuse crisis that has spilled onto the highways. David Drumheller of the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association told the Joint Judiciary and Transportation Committee the numbers across Pennsylvania are alarming.

"In 2007, DUI convictions were about 9 percent of the total number of DUI convictions," Drumheller said. "In 2015 that number has increased to 26 percent. That is an overall increase of 184 percent over those nine years."

Experts have warned the committee that more drugged driving trouble could be just around the bend when state medical marijuana legislation is implemented. This advise comes from Lackawanna County President Judge Michael Barrasse.

"If the Commonwealth plans to seriously address the issue of drugged driving then adequate procedures and funding for chemical testing for all police departments must be uniform," Barrasse said.

Those procedures include advanced drug detection training for officers and oral fluid detection testing for motorists.

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