Drugged Driving Bill

By: Sarah Goebel Email
By: Sarah Goebel Email

Kentucky is leading the nation in the number of people who illegally use prescription drugs.

The National Transportation Safety Administration said drugs other than alcohol are involved in nearly one out of five motor vehicle driver deaths.

Those statistics are why state legislature is trying to strengthen Kentucky DUI laws.

The purpose of the Drugged Driver Bill would be to prevent people from driving with a controlled substance in their system. A controlled substance is any prescription or illegal drug.

"If you have a controlled substance in your system and you do not have a prescription for that controlled substance then you are on its face you are guilty," Warren County attorney, Amy Milliken said.

The bill would be added to the current DUI statute. The guidelines police officers have to follow when arresting someone under the influence of a controlled substance would be the same as someone driving under the influence of alcohol.

"Once you are arrested for probable cause DUI they will then take you to a lab technician and have either a urine and or blood taken and will send that to the lab," Milliken said.

If you test positive for a controlled substance and you don't have a prescription, it will be treated like a regular DUI case. If you have a prescription, the charges may be dropped.

"They are not trying to punish anyone that is in need of taking these controlled substances by a prescription from a licensed physician," Milliken said.

However, Milliken said knowing the side effects of your prescription is your responsibility.

"Every bottle that we dispense that has a chance of making someone drowsy or under the influence of their medication we put an auxiliary sticker on there to warn them," pharmacist, Stacy Lamb said.

Lamb said pharmacists also verbally warn people of prescription drugs' side effects but the bottom line is...

"If it affects your driving, you do not need to get behind the wheel," Milliken said.

Milliken also said under the current law, just knowing that a controlled substance was in someone's system while driving isn't enough to say someone is guilty of a DUI. She said an attorney has to prove what was in your system actually affected your driving.

To view the revise DUI bill, click here. The revised content is underlined in the attatched PDF.

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