Sen. Schumer calls for push on drugged driving enforcement

MANHATTAN - The federal government should help police departments nationwide obtain the tools and training needed to attack a rising scourge of driving under the influence, two U.S. senators said Sunday.

Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Mark Pryor of Arkansas proposed that federal funding in a pending transportation funding bill be used for research and to train police. They said police have no equipment and few have training in identifying drugged drivers, who don't show the same outward signs of intoxication as drunken drivers do, such as slurred speech.

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice joined Schumer in pushing for legislation that would also give states money for more drug-recognition training for law enforcement.

"Drugged driving is difficult to identify, many people take life-saving medications that don't impair their driving, so we must ensure that we temper tough enforcement with a driver's needs and their civil rights - that's why training for law enforcement is so critically important," Rice says.

Schumer says drugged driving arrests have risen 35 percent in New York since 2001.

AP wire services were used in this report.

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