June 1, 2017 Governor Hickenlooper signed HB17-1315, negotiated and written by DUID Victim Voices founder Ed Wood. The bill requires Colorado to collect, analyze and annually publish DUI/DUID data from the Colorado’s courts, laboratories and state agencies. Beginning in March, 2018, when the first report is scheduled to be published, Colorado will have a better understanding of the causes of DUI citations; alcohol, drugs, or combinations of both. The state will know which drugs and drug combinations are the most prevalent, and will no longer have to guess how the conviction rate differs between DUI-alcohol cases and DUID cases. The folly of the 5 ng/ml THC permissible inference will finally be exposed with data showing the number of DUI cases that were dropped simply because a stoned driver happened to test below the arbitrary standard set by the legislature in 2013.
Even though this may be the most comprehensive DUI data collection effort ever attempted, it still falls short of the recent data collection recommendations made by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The most important information for any DUI case is evidence found at the scene by officers during an arrest. These data will not be included in Colorado’s report. The first report will cover 2016 data only, so no trends can be observed. And finally, laboratory drug tests are only available on a minority of Colorado’s DUI cases, estimated to be about one-third of all citations. Nevertheless, HB 1315 is a very good start.
We are grateful to the support of stakeholders who participated in the drafting of this measure, including law enforcement agencies, public and private laboratories, state agencies, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the legislative sponsors, and all legislators who voted to support this important measure.