Arthur Orr’s ‘drugged driving’ bill stalls in Alabama Senate committee

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While Alabama lawmakers debate how to create safer roads, one Alabama state senator believes it can be achieved by taking a stronger stance on “drugged” driving.

Decatur-Republican state Senator Arthur Orr filed Senate Bill 180 on Valentine’s Day, which seeks to strengthen DUI law in the Yellowhammer State. The bill would expand the DUI standard to include several additional drugs, involve greater punishment for repeat offenders, and ultimately make it easier for a drivers’ license to be revoked.

Through his bill, Orr wants to increase penalties for repeat “drugged driving” offenders and extend a “lookback period” from five years to ten, which would give courts the ability to use past misdemeanor and felony DUI convictions to add severity to future sentencing.

On Wednesday, Orr’s bill stalled as his colleagues on the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee questioned whether or not looking back 10 years was looking back too far. They also questioned the list of drugs named in the bill.

Orr moved to table his bill.

In 2015, the Washington Post reported on a study from the Governors Highway Safety Association, which found that “drugs were found in the systems of almost 40 percent of fatally injured drivers who were tested for them. That rivals the number of drivers who died with alcohol in their system.”

And “the number of dead drivers who tested positive for drugs has increased from 29 percent in 2005 to 39.9 percent in 2013, the report said, citing federal crash data.”

Below are the drugs and amounts that would qualify for penalty until Orr’s bill:

There is a 6 blood concentration of the following substances that is equal 7 to or greater than:

  • 90 ng/mL of Alprazola
  • 200 ng/mL of Amphetamin
  • 10,000 ng/mL of Butalbita
  • 10,000 ng/mL of Carisoprodol or meprobama
  • 70 ng/mL of Clonazepam
  • 20 ng/mL of Cocaine
  • 5 ng/mL of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • 500 ng/mL of Diazepam or nordiazepam
  • 60 ng/mL of Hydrocodone
  • 100 ng/mL of Lorazepam
  • 250 ng/mL of Methadon
  • 10 ng/mL of Methamphetamine
  • 100 ng/mL of Morphine
  • 100 ng/mL of Oxycodone
  • 800 ng/mL of Tramadol
  • 50 ng/mL of Zolpidem
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