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Drive high, get a DUI. That warning comes from the Colorado State Patrol, which launched its new campaign today to prevent stoned drivers from hitting the road.

Colorado state troopers are training to become Drug Recognition Experts in order to better spot intoxicated drivers, 9 News reported. The state currently has over 200 officers with DRE certification and additional sections of the nine-day course have been scheduled to prepare state and local law enforcement agencies. Today, 20 state troopers will graduate from the course.

Trooper Josh Lewis said every Colorado state trooper is trained in how to identify impaired drivers. They are re-certified every year in how to give a field sobriety test. All troopers will now be required to be certified in another impaired driving test known as ARIDE, or Advanced Roadside Impairment Detection And Enforcement. Drug Recreation Experts are just that, experts at identifying what substance is impairing a driver.

"You're looking at more the medical side," Lewis said. "At how specific drugs react in the body. One drug may dilate the pupils, another will constrict them. Is the person sweating on a 10-degree day or the shivering because they're cold on a 90 degree day? What's their pulse rate at? All these signs and indicators can lead to one or several different kinds of drugs."

Concerns about stoned driving nearly killed Colorado's recreational-use marijuana bill. In the three months since recreational marijuana became legal, drunk driving is still the main problem on Colorado roadways. Out of the 402 drivers cited for impaired driving in January, 60 were pulled over for suspected marijuana use. That's only 15 percent of DUI citations issued. There's no way to know if the legalization of recreational marijuana has contributed to a rise of DUI citations however, because before the law went into effect, DUIs weren't broken down by what substance drivers had used.

In the course, officers are trained to look for specific warning signs for driving while high. They issue the same field sobriety tests as with drunk drivers, but there are procedures specially designed to detect high drivers.

Officers learn to ask suspects to estimate 30 seconds in his or her head to gauge their internal clock, according to The Denver Post. A stoned driver will have a much slower internal clock and be unable to accurately gauge time.

Police also look for physical signs, such as red eyes or dilated pupils. Stoned driver's eyes may also not track a moving object.

What too stoned to drive looks like is controversial. The limit Colorado has set as the threshold of intoxication , five nanograms per milliliter of blood, is controversial as marijuana affects users differently depending on their average usage and strength of the drug. Heavy users, for example, might have 5 nanograms in their blood even on days when they haven't used.


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  • 54 Comments
      Richard
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hopefully so as not to violate people's consitutional rights like freedom of movement and right not to incriminate oneself, police will still rely on observable probable cause first before challenging a person as to whether that person is impaired. Such as eratic or dangerous driving.
      andersonda54
      • 1 Year Ago
      4th amendment you do not have to awnser questions, look at the officer,or roll your window down all the way or exit car must have valid reason you broke the law to start with suspion in not a law and come on 9 day test please
        DT
        • 1 Year Ago
        @andersonda54
        In Illinois they have roving police "safety" patrols and walk up on you at a stop light, they don't need to pull you over if you are already stopped..but if you take off..they will arrest you...probably "serve" you up an ass whoopin while they "protect" their ass. they are all crooks with badges bar none.
      wheelockdavid
      • 1 Year Ago
      COPS HAVE THE SAME BRAIN POWER AS MY DOG AND ALL HE WANTS TO DO IS LICK HIS NUTS
      Tim
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you smoke marijuana and drive you deserve to be jailed. Period. If you want to drive high you take a risk. I don't care what the blood level actually is. There is a reason the cop is pulling you over and it's not because you're a safe driver. One person's rights end when they violate another persons rights. Impaired drivers rights end when they infringe on my rights to drive on a safe roadway. Put that in your bong and smoke it.
        ruckas356
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tim
        Yes, same thing about caffeine and sugar. and their emotional state. a mad driver is a bad driver. we should give out tickets based of peoples moods/ because you could more accuartily gauge a persons mood rather then tell if they are high. Cant do drug tests, because i person who smokes once a month could be stoner all month then.. lol that makes no sense.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I only smoke and fly, i wish,( ruckas356) I break that seal I will never get there again and it's true fact.
      • 1 Year Ago
      The other day I was being followed by a CSPD car for sev. blocks... I think bec. I had 3 Grateful Dead stickers on my the back window of my car.. and a lg. purple Peace Sign hanging from my car mirror. He followed me for a good 15 min... to no avail. It made me smile, really. I'm a grandma... and a Hippie from way back... but I would not drive stoned.... so he was SOL that day... following the wrong person : )
      oldhippie43
      • 1 Year Ago
      Cops will be required to carry a dozen or so bags of potato chips with them for a simple roadside test.. When they stop a driver suspected of being stoned, they will offer him/her some potato chips. If the driver eats the whole bag, the police will have probable cause to arrest them..
      mvnup
      • 1 Year Ago
      It’s good to see someone is trying to protect people from low life druggies.
      hchevy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Cops can make probable cause out of anything.
      ruckas356
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thats crazy. There is no way to know if the driver is stoned unless they are smoking in the car then u will smell it. or if there is a roach. otherwise. you cant do nothing. cant take a test weed stays in your system for over a month. Oh and its like getting drunk. You dont lose your motor skills. and the more you smoke the more you become sober. UNLESS its like literally your 1st or 2nd time.. then you will be really high, the highest you will ever be, once you break that seal you will never get there again.
        jimmyv2222
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ruckas356
        first its you "cant do anything" (must be the joint talking) second you can do a field sobriety test. and your last statement is idiotic, the more you smoke the more sober you become? wow how much have you had today? please dont go and drive. If as you say "once you break the seal you will never get high again" then why smoke it?, and yes you do lose your motor skills it slows down your thinking process and reaction time
      ruckas356
      • 1 Year Ago
      "New intense efforts to fine drivers and make money starts today" is what it should say under the title.. am i right? lets tell it like it is...
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am thinking that this will be another pretext for police to stop drivers unnecessarily and unconstitutionally. Can anyone say police state?
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