Local officials and loved ones of victims rally for stricter laws against 'drugged drivers'

Officials hope that this bill prevents future fatal crashes and save lives. Legislators have until June 6 to pass the bill.

Valerie Ryan and Adolfo Carrion

May 9, 2024, 9:42 PM

Updated 16 days ago

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Elected officials and the loved ones of victims to drivers under the influence of drugs rallied for a new bill that aims to punish those drivers more.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health says that in 2021, 11.7 million people ages 16 and older drove under the influence of illicit drugs, including marijuana.
Family members of victims like Karina Lopez, a 31-year-old who was fatally struck by a driver under the influence of cocaine, and Mohammed Rahman, who was struck by a driver high on drugs, say this law is a necessity.
"She was parked already. She was going to grab her bag from the backseat. And this driver, he was under the influence of cocaine. He was driving 90 mph...And he struck my sister," said Lopez's brother.
The law currently states that police cannot arrest a visibly impaired driver without knowing the specific substance they took. That substance must also be listed on the public health law. Drivers can avoid this by refusing a drug test or not disclosing what they've taken.
"What kind of nonsense is this? If you look like, you on drugs, you act like you are on drugs. You are on drugs. You should be arrested. That's it. Simple," said one Bronx resident.
Officials hope that this bill prevents future fatal crashes and saves lives. Legislators have until June 6 to pass the bill.


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