Our earlier story indicated law enforcement was unable to get drugged drivers off the road because of lack of a state law that affected them. We should have indicated the state law does not have the equivalent of a blood-alcohol content test such as is used in drunk driving cases.
Missouri’s Driving-Under-the-Influence law appears to have a big hole in it… because it doesn’t cover all of the “influences” the same way. House Transportation chairman Neil St. Onge says he was “kind of shocked” to learn from a Kansas City Star reporter that the state’s DUI law does include blood-drug tests similar to the blood-alcohol tests used for drunk driving cases. St. Onge is sure the legislature will move to close that loophole next year. The big question is how the legislature will establish the blood-drug level. He says he has read that marijuana can stay in a person’s system for a month, meaning a trace in a person’s blood would not be enough to prove a person is driving under the influence of drugs. St. Onge assumes other states have set standards. He also thinks some standards exist in Missouri’s worker’s comp law and might exist in unemployment law. If history is a guide, however, passage of a DUI law for drugs might not be a given. It took several years to get the point-zero-eight drunk driving law through the general assembly.
Law enforcement officers often use section 577.010 of the Missouri statutes to get drugged drivers off the road. The part of the law says a person is considered to be driving while intoxicated if they are in an intoxicated or drugged condition. However, officers say they have to rely on a person’s appearance or behavior to judge if they are under the influence of drugs because there is no blood-drug statute.