With regards to impaired driving prevention efforts, data can often make a difference. Knowing where, when and how a serious accident is more likely to occur can make a big difference for law enforcement, regulators and the public.
As such, the National Governors Association is looking to modernize its data collection practices for impaired driving. Colorado is among the 10 states selected for a grant to participate in this modernization.
In part, the modernization project will help ensure all impaired driving issues are counted, regardless of substance involved. Historically, data tracking has been geared towards alcohol only. The new system will standardize data for marijuana and other substances as well, with the end goal of helping state and federal governments spot trends and phenomena.
According to a 2018 report from the CDC, 20.5 million Americans aged 16 and older said that they had driven under the influence of alcohol. Meanwhile, 12 million Americans reported driving under the influence of marijuana, and 2.3 million Americans drove under the influence of other substances. Further, in a survey from the Colorado Department of Transportation, over one in five marijuana users (22.3%) reported driving within two to three hours of using the substance.
The funding for data collection improvement will provide Colorado with training and strategies to better leverage data for impaired driving prevention. The training will also help the selected states to standardize data collection using modern tools.