Road safety. In Pennsylvania’s latest effort to bolster highway safety, three state troopers and 17 municipal police officers have completed training and are certified by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as Drug Recognition Experts, or DREs. This is the 23rd training class conducted in Pennsylvania.
“The Drug Evaluation and Classification Program is a national effort to train police officers to determine when an individual has been driving under the influence of drugs and to identify the type of drug causing the impairment,” said David Andrascik, the state program coordinator of the Pennsylvania DUI Association officials. The success of the program in Pennsylvania is a result of the strong partnerships of the Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania DUI Association.
The program also trains officers to recognize whether an individual is suffering from a medical condition rather than drug impairment, he said.
Drug Recognition Experts are trained to determine if a driver is under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs or any other substance that impairs a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
“Motorists should know that they may be incapable of driving safely and can be charged with driving under the influence after ingesting any intoxicating substance, whether the substance is legal or illegal, prescribed by a physician or purchased over the counter. Individuals need to be aware of how taking a particular drug will affect their body,” Andrascik said.
Pennsylvania’s DRE training program is coordinated by David Andrascik of the Pennsylvania DUI Association.
The program, which was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and approved by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, includes classroom study and hands-on exercises for participating officers. As part of the training, participants are required to conduct evaluations of actual subjects impaired by drugs.
In 2004, Pennsylvania became the 39th U.S. state to have a Drug Evaluation and Classification Program approved by the IACP. With the additional officers obtaining certification, the Commonwealth currently has 93 troopers and 102 municipal police officers certified as DREs.