The consequences of driving while impaired are significant and can turn deadly. As we continue to see powerful synthetic drugs imported into the U.S., state lawmakers are looking to update current legislation to make sure anyone who drives while impaired is punished.

Some lawmakers are concerned about what is and isn’t considered an illegal drug, according to public health law. Supporters of the bill said the list is outdated and easy for those importing drugs to manipulate. 

“This list does not keep up with the drugs that are coming out almost on a daily basis," said Democratic Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli. 

"It's out of date. It's completely out of date," said Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick. 

A list codified into the state’s Public Health Law has some state legislators concerned. 

“If you immediately identify the formula for the drug and you make that illegal, then these drug manufacturers, they simply change the formula," Fitzpatrick said. 

“They tweak the chemical composition of the drugs overnight," said Magnarelli. "So there's no way of the list ever being right up to date.” 

According to Magnarelli and Fitzpatrick, drug manufacturers outpacing legislation makes it harder for law enforcement to prosecute drivers they say are clearly impaired. 

“You can't keep up with it," Magnarelli said. "So it's impossible to arrest people and try them and convict them on being impaired while they're driving.”

A bill introduced by Magnarelli would make several changes to the state’s vehicle and traffic law. Chief among the changes would be altering the definition of “drug” to include any substance, or combination of substances, that impair physical or mental abilities. The legislation would also redefine and broaden the definition of impairment and intoxication.

“What you have to do is have a law like this that says that we will train people to diagnose when someone is impaired, and that could be them being impaired by anything," he said. 

Magnarelli says opponents are against it because it doesn’t use an objective way of diagnosing an impaired driver, making it a judgement call. To him the bottom line is clear. 

“Don't get behind the wheel," Magnarelli said. "That's what this is about.” 

The bill is currently in committee. There is also a version in committee in the Senate.