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Highway Safety

The number of Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) in North Dakota has increased by 16 to a total of 63 officers in 23 different agencies as 420 approaches.  

April 20, more commonly known as “420” has become synonymous with increased recreational marijuana use and with it, the potential for more impaired drivers on the road. DRE law enforcement officers are specially trained in recognizing if a driver is under the influence of drugs, like marijuana.

A recently completed roadside drug testing pilot revealed the presence of marijuana (THC) in more than half of those suspected to be under the influence, making DREs a vital asset for law enforcement in identifying and removing impaired drivers from the roadways.

"Drug Recognition Experts play a crucial role in safeguarding our roads from impaired drivers, ensuring public safety remains paramount,” said DRE State Coordinator Trooper Tarek Chase. “Their specialized training and expertise enable swift and accurate identification of impaired individuals, mitigating potential risks and preventing crashes. Investing in these experts is essential for maintaining road safety and upholding the well-being of our communities."

Alcohol and drug-related crashes, fatalities and arrests are 100% preventable. Not only illegal or illicit substances have the potential to impair; but many may not know certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can also diminish reaction time and induce drowsiness. Introducing alcohol into the equation can escalate the dangers of drug-impaired driving even further. Many lives would be saved in North Dakota each year if every driver consistently makes the choice to always drive sober or find a sober ride.

Learn more about traffic safety initiatives at VisionZero.ND.gov or join the conversation on the Vision Zero ND Facebook or X page.

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