State Crime Commission studies DUI enforcement in Virginia

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 7:13 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Families who have lost loved ones in crashes caused by drunk drivers shared their grief. And law enforcement officials expressed their determination that more needs to be done.

“The Crime Commission needs to help us. The General Assembly needs to help us,” said Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa, during Wednesday’s meeting of the Virginia State Crime Commission.

A commission study revealed that driving under the Influence of alcohol is a factor in one-third of fatal crashes in Virginia. And a growing concern, law enforcement officials said, are drivers who are impaired by two or more drugs.

They said the state doesn’t have enough drug recognition experts, highly trained officers who can respond when needed.

“How many would we need to get trained so we would reach the point where we would be able to call somebody within half an hour drive?” asked Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville).

“Conceivably, I’d like to have a hundred in Virginia spread throughout,” said a representative of the Virginia State Police.

Recommendations could include additional funding to make sure more state troopers and local law enforcement officers are trained to recognize and document the signs of drug impairment.

The State Crime Commission will consider legislative proposals before lawmakers return to Richmond early next year.