Drug Impaired Driving

Every state has laws dealing with alcohol-impaired driving and drug-impaired driving. But unlike the laws for drunk driving, those that address drugged driving are nuanced, difficult to enforce and prosecute and vary substantially by state.

In addition to general impairment laws, there are two basic laws that states tend to use when addressing drug-impaired driving:

  • Zero Tolerance laws make it illegal to drive with any measurable amount of specified drugs in the body. These laws are best suited for illegal drugs: if it is illegal to possess or use a drug, then it is reasonable to prohibit driving after the drug has been possessed and used.
    • 16 states have zero tolerance laws in effect for one or more drugs.
  • Per Se laws make it illegal to drive with amounts of specified drugs in the body that exceed set limits.
    • 7 states have per se laws in effect for one or more drugs.

Marijuana Drug-Impaired Driving Laws

18 states have zero tolerance or non-zero per se laws for marijuana.

  • 9 states have zero tolerance for THC or a metabolite.
  • 3 states have zero tolerance for THC but no restriction on metabolites.
  • 5 states have specific per se limits for THC
  • 1 state (Colorado) has a reasonable inference law for THC

A PDF list of state marijuana-related laws is also available here.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on drug impaired driving laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

Sources: State Highway Safety Offices.

Short Term Description
Unlike the laws for drunk driving, those that address drugged driving are nuanced, difficult to enforce and prosecute and vary substantially by state.

Lyft Grant Results: Louisiana

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC) was one of five State Highway Safety Offices to receive a grant from GHSA and ride hailing company Lyft to prevent impaired driving during the 2018 holiday season. With its grant, LHSC complemented its annual "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" enforcement campaign with social media messaging to spotlight discounted Lyft rides.

Police catch hundreds of impaired drivers on Maine roads; why some are never tested for drugs

As drug-impaired driving continues to be a growing issue on our roads, Maine Bureau of Highway Safety Director and GHSA Secretary Lauren Stewart explains the challenges of assessing drivers impaired by multiple legal or illegal substances.

Police catch hundreds of impaired drivers on Maine roads; why some are never tested for drugs

Story by David Charns
June 5, 2019

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