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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Michigan closes impaired-driving loophole

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Drivers can get high on lots of things , not just drugs and alcohol. So a new Michigan law has closed a loophole that allowed some drivers to escape prosecution for impaired driving.

Police who pulled someone over for suspected impaired driving could order a blood test.

But if the driver was intoxicated by certain substances that are otherwise legal,  there wasn't a thing police could do about it.

Michigan State Police Sergeant Christopher Hawkins says the new law changes that.

"This legislation would actually broaden that to include things like huffing of inhalants or using over-the-counter items, like overdosing on cough syrups like Robitussin," Hawkins says.

Hawkins says since lab tests are already ordered for suspected impaired drivers, the new law won't cost more to enforce.

However, under an April ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court, no amount of marijuana -- medical or otherwise -- is allowed in a driver's system.

State Sen. David Robertson (R-Grand Blanc Township) says he sponsored the legislation after Grand Blanc police told him about being unable to charge impaired drivers because the intoxicating substances found in blood tests were not illegal.