Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) introduced SB 925 which will require law enforcement to test for drug use after a fatal collision. The bill also extends the required testing period from 24 to 48 hours after the incident has occurred, providing law enforcement with additional information. Senator Bates released the following statement:
“It is becoming increasingly common for drivers involved in fatal collisions to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In 2021, 54.5% of fatally injured drivers in Orange County had at least one substance in their system; however, existing law only requires law enforcement to test for alcohol. Testing for drugs in fatal collisions allows us to more accurately understand the modern use of prescription and recreational drugs.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is the sponsor of SB 925. OC Sheriff Don Barnes recognizes how valuable the information gained from expanded testing can be to local and state officials.
“The increases seen in driving under the influence of drugs is a major public safety concern,” said Barnes. “Policy makers need reliable data in order to correctly address the problem. Ensuring testing of all fatalities will be an important tool for keeping our roads safe.”
Orange and San Francisco Counties are the only counties currently testing for drug content in victims of fatal collisions.