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Impaired Driving in Colorado: First results from a data integration initiative

Abstract: The national landscape of marijuana legalization has been shifting over the past decade. Given this, one primary concern that has come into focus is the role of marijuana in drugged driving. Research has primarily focused on fatality data obtained from Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), but this does not paint a full picture for a couple of reasons. The database only includes fatal crash data and only 70% of deceased drivers are tested and 30% of living drivers are tested. In the current research project we attempt to paint a broader picture of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in the state of Colorado. Here court case filings and outcomes from 2016 are linked to breath and blood toxicology data to better understand drugged driving and patterns of drug use observed in these cases.

There were six complex datasets to link in order to assess impaired driving. There were very few reliable common key values between datasets as there were inconsistencies in formats of case numbers or other various data imputation errors. Given this we utilized an open source tool to enable record linkage between these datasets. The linkage of these datasets allows us to better understand conviction rates of different drug categories. We can also identify initial DUI/DUID charges that were likely to have been plead to lesser final charges.

Additionally, we focus on the use of marijuana by examining the prevalence of its primary psychoactive component delta-9-THC and its metabolites. Finally, we examine polydrug use and specific drugs abused as reported by toxicology data. In full, the linked datasets allows us to gain a better understanding of what is occurring with respect to DUID on our roadways and in our courts across the state of Colorado.

Becky Bui - joined the Division of Criminal Justice's Office of Research & Statistics as a statistical analyst in 2018. She is tasked with researching the effects of marijuana legalization on impaired driving cases. Becky brings experience in research coordination and design, data prep and analysis, and data visualization. Prior to joining ORS she worked in higher education as a lab manager at Northwestern University’s Cognition and Language Lab and then as an institutional research coordinator at the University of Colorado Denver. Becky has a B.A. in Psychology and Neuroscience from Skidmore College and an M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University



Session Material
Impaired Driving in Colorado, Bui .pptx (2181 kb)
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