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ASP: ‘If you feel different, you drive different’


Local law enforcement will be stepping up effort on marijuana “holiday”

By Don Wilburn

As the unofficial cannabis “celebration” of 4/20 approaches this Saturday, April 20, 2024, law enforcement officials are warning the citizens of Crittenden County about the dangers of driving while under the influence of marijuana. With an anticipated increase in marijuana use during this time, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Region 7 is teaming up with local law enforcement to spread the message that drugimpaired driving is both dangerous and illegal.

To prevent accidents caused by drug-impaired driving, NHTSA urges those planning to use marijuana on 4/20 or any day to refrain from driving afterwards. If stranded with a vehicle while under the influence, it is advised to give the keys to a sober driver or utilize taxi/rideshare services.

Friends should be vigilant in preventing impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel and instead help them find a safe way home.

“Even if you don’t feel impaired after partaking in drug use, do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle,” stated Region 7 Administrator Susan DeCourcy. “Impairment from drug use can sometimes be delayed, or you can be fooled into thinking you’re of sound mind when you’re actually not. State laws vary within our region, but the one constant is that driving with recreational drugs in your system is illegal everywhere.”

A study conducted by NHTSA from 2019-2021 revealed that approximately 26 percent of drivers who were seriously injured or killed had active THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, in their system. This emphasizes the importance of the message: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. The impairments caused by marijuana use, such as slowed reaction times and impaired cognitive performance, can significantly affect a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.

By taking these precautions and utilizing available resources such as sober ride programs, taxis, ride-shares, or public transportation, the community can work together to prevent tragedies on the road. If encountering an impaired driver, individuals are encouraged to contact local law enforcement.

Join NHTSA in spreading the lifesaving message of If You Feel Different, You Drive Different to help save lives and keep roadways safe. For more information on impaired driving, visit drug-impaired-driving.

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