Enforcement + detection: what to know

Traffic Safety Pulse News

So, you know driving high is illegal. You know you can get a DUI for driving under the influence of cannabis. Do you know how these laws are enforced? The primary mode of enforcement is roadside impairment testing. Colorado has hundreds of drug recognition experts (DREs) who are specifically trained to detect when someone is impaired by drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol. As of 2019, there were 226 Colorado law enforcement officers trained as DREs across 79 agencies statewide. In addition, many Colorado law enforcement officers have received special training in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE).

The skills needed to drive safely are negatively impacted by many drugs – including cannabis. Cannabis can impair reaction time, judgment, motor skills and perception of time and distance. Law enforcement officers base arrests on observed impairment. And while Colorado and other states work to advance detection method technology and guidelines, law enforcement DREs are skilled in spotting the signs of marijuana impairment and will recognize a person under the influence. 

The law says if you are impaired to the slightest degree you can be arrested – no matter what the substance. That is why Colorado law enforcement are increasingly trained to identify drivers impaired by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. So even if you think you’re ok to drive, the fact is, you can get a DUI if you’ve consumed cannabis before getting behind the wheel.

Colorado State Patrol