Officers are seeing more and more people driving under the influence of controlled substances each year.
Lt. Shawn Williams, who commands Charleston's Community Services Division, said more than half of impaired drivers stopped in the city are driving under the influence of drugs.
"It's beyond huge; we're at epidemic proportions now," Williams said. "It's a major, major problem, and I don't see it decreasing with the problems we're having now with prescription drugs."
Further complicating the problem are drivers who have prescriptions for medications that alter their skills behind the wheel. They often mistakenly think it's OK to drive on their prescribed medication, he said.
Williams said if the notice on the medication says a person shouldn't use heavy machinery while taking it, they're not OK to drive.
Goodwin said the governor brought the issue up during his speech because he's heard similar words from officers around the state.
Officers are limited in what they can do with suspected drugged drivers, said Williams, who also serves as the regional coordinator for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. Without a secondary test, it's hard to prove a person is driving while drugged unless he or she admits to it.
Williams said this law would be a huge step in combating the issue.
The bill is pending in the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.