Los Angeles County prosecutors will have more federal funding to enforce DUI laws next year and are focused on cases involving cannabis, the District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
The California Office of Traffic Safety approved nearly $1 million in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dollars to pay for a unit in the D.A.’s office dedicated to investigating and prosecuting driving under the influence cases involving alcohol, marijuana and other drugs.
The DUI Training and Prosecution Section has taken the lead in training local law enforcement and its own deputy district attorneys to handle DUI cases involving legal recreational marijuana.
A study released last month by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety called for education and enforcement to counteract a rise in impaired driving seen in states where recreational cannabis has been legalized. Researchers found that crashes were up by as much as 6 percent in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington compared with neighboring states that have not legalized recreational marijuana.
The $981,124 in new funding — an increase of about 12 percent over last year — will be used in part to ramp up the number of police officers who are certified to recognize impairment caused by various categories of drugs, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.