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New law closes loophole for impaired driving

Definition of controlled substance widened

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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 4:53 pm

 State Sen. Dave Robertson joined Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday for a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 353 sponsored by Robertson. SB 353, now Public Act 543 of 2012, changes the definition of a controlled substance when driving, effective March 31.

 Currently, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or a combination of the two. Robertson’s legislation addresses situations in which people are operating a vehicle under the influence of a “substance,” but that substance is not listed as a controlled substance.

 For example, a police officer reported a situation in which an individual was evidently caught huffing computer duster from a can while operating a vehicle, which then caused damage to parked cars and could have caused injuries. The officer noted in the report that if the suspect’s blood work had come back negative for alcohol or controlled substances, the police would only have been able to charge the person with a local ordinance violation.

 “Hopefully, by this legislation being signed into law, a loophole has been closed and our streets and roads will be safer,” said Robertson, (R-Grand Blanc Township). “If someone is under the influence they should not be on the road, and law enforcement must have the proper tools in place to get them off the roads.”

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