With an uncertain history, April 20th (more commonly known as 4/20) has become synonymous with marijuana use and, in some circles, the date is a marijuana “holiday.” To help keep drug-impaired drivers off the roads, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) are teaming with State, county and local law enforcement to spread the message that drug-impaired driving of any kind is dangerous and illegal. Drivers will see extra enforcement between April 19th and April 22nd to combat impaired driving.
Like drunk driving, drug-impaired driving is illegal nationwide. According to NHTSA, between 2009 and 2018, of those drivers killed in crashes and tested for marijuana, the presence of marijuana had nearly doubled. In 2018, 46% of drivers who were killed in crashes and were tested for drugs, tested positive. This is why it’s so important to spread this lifesaving message: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Do you think driving while high isn’t dangerous? It has been proven that THC can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.
Those who plan to use marijuana on 4/20 should have a plan in place and refrain from driving. Here are a few tips to help keep everyone safe:
• If you have used an impairing substance such as marijuana, do not drive. Passengers should never ride with an impaired driver. If you think a driver may be impaired, do not get in the car.
• If you are drug-impaired, pass the keys to a sober driver who can safely drive to the destination. It is never okay to drive while impaired by any substance.
• Do you have a friend who is about to drive while impaired by drugs? Take the keys away and arrange to get them home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone — they’ll thank you later.
By working together, we can save lives and help keep America’s roadways safe. Share the lifesaving message, If you feel different, you drive different.
Media contact: Amanda Woods, GTSB Program Administrator (515) 725-6127.