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Drug-testing drivers is a sad necessity

West Virginia has made enormous progress in getting drunken drivers off the road. In 2000, the state suffered 135 alcohol-related traffic fatalities. Ten years later, the total was 88 - still too high but a significant drop at nearly 35 percent .

Police now are turning attention to drug-impaired drivers. Federal figures show one in 10 adults in the state has a drug problem, mainly prescription drug abuse.

And drug-impaired drivers accounted for one in 10 of the driving-under-the-influence arrests last year, said Bob Tipton, director of the state's highway safety program. He wants police to be able to test for drugs just as they can test for alcohol when they pull over a driver.

"It's not that the police can't do anything," Tipton said. "They just don't have tools in their tool belt to deal with drugged driving."

That's a tool lawmakers should hand the police.


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