Impaired driving and highway safety among board monthly review

After a combined tour of Districts 5 and 6, including a visit to the Teton Valley May 20, the board conducted its business meeting in Pocatello May 21. The board heard discussions on drugged driving, highway-safety performance, a pair of public-transit appointments and a review of the D5 annual report.

Drugged driving and drug recognition expertise

Drugged driving is a significant part of the impaired-driving problem, and detecting drugs is more challenging than alcohol. Research has identified approximately 200 drugs capable of causing sedation, blurred vision, hypotension (low blood pressure), dizziness, fainting, and loss of coordination. These impairments can cause fatal and serious injury crashes.

If a law enforcement officer is suspicious of drug impairment, an evaluation by trained personnel can be requested. The evaluation takes approximately 45 minutes.  Tests are used to determine impairment. An opinion on impairment and the cause of the impairment is then submitted, which can strengthen a case.

Highway Safety performance plan

The draft FY16 Highway Safety Performance Plan was presented to the board for review. Staff will request approval of the plan next month.

The document is required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It identifies the state’s most critical driver-related highway-safety problems and proposes projects to address them. The goal of the program is to eliminate highway fatalities, serious injuries and economic losses resulting from traffic crashes by implementing programs to address driver behaviors.

A variety of projects is recommended for funding, including public-service announcements and other paid media campaigns, overtime for law enforcement officers to allow their participation in mobilization efforts, and distribution of child-passenger safety seats. The Alive at 25 program targetting young drivers also was advocated, as was training for Emergency Medical Services providers and hosting the Highway Safety Summit.

District 5 annual report

District 5 reported on some of its performance metrics. The winter-mobility goal of 55 percent was exceeded, as the district’s roads were not significantly impeded 71 percent of the time. It delivered 78 percent of the FY17 program on time, which was below the goal of 100 percent.

The district has completed its review to determine what positions and job skills will be required in 2020. The 2020 organizational plan calls for 142 positions. The district currently has 145 employees.

Public Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC) appointments

The board appointed two members to PTAC. The council was established in Idaho Code to advise the department on issues and policies regarding public transportation in Idaho. Its members are to participate in planning activities, identify transportation needs, and promote coordinated transportation systems. The council is comprised of six members with one from each district. Members serve three-year terms.

The incumbent, a retired George Eskridge, was re-appointed to the District 1 PTAC seat. Eskridge has a bachelor's degree in business administration. He has been involved in various community organizations — the chamber of commerce, American Legion Youth Baseball program, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fraternal Order of Eagles — and served seven terms in the Idaho legislature.

Kevin Dugan, from Fairfield, was selected as the District 4 PTAC member. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and is employed with Western Energy, which provides distribution and consulting for commercial-grade solar electric, energy efficiency and water-conservation projects for business and agriculture markets in Idaho, Nevada and California.






Published 06-05-15