Helming legislation requires field testing at all serious, fatal crashes

Supporters of the legislation say it would provide greater enforcement of DWI and DWAI laws that are already on the books.

Senator Pam Helming announced legislation that she sponsored to provide mandatory alcohol and drug testing in the event of a serious car accident was signed into law.

“Individuals need to be held accountable for their choices, especially when it leads to the death or serious injury of someone else. Eliminating loopholes in the current law that allow drivers under the influence to escape prosecution at the expense of someone else’s life is a start,” Helming said.

“This legislation will provide law enforcement with more tools to hold those who drive under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, accountable so that they may bring justice to the families of those who have been seriously injured or killed. I thank the Governor for signing this critical legislation into law,” she added.

Senator Helming initially learned about the issue from Philip Walker. Mr. Walker’s 26-year-old son, James, was struck and killed while crossing the street in 2011.

Though a bag of Adderall was found in the driver’s vehicle, the driver was never tested for drugs or alcohol.

Helming said she heard similar stories from other, including Stephen and Donna Hilyer, of Waterloo. Their son, Stephen, was killed in 2012 when he was struck by a driver with several prior DWI arrests.

The National Highway and Traffic Administration indicates that in 2014, more than 10,000 people died in drunk driving crashes – one every 51 minutes – and 290,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes. All too often, intoxicated or drugged drivers who are involved in a motor vehicle crashes escape prosecution.

The legislation requires that officers present at, or investigating a vehicle accident involving serious injury or death request that all driver’s submit to a field test to provide law enforcement with accurate information.

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