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NHTSA Focuses On Drug-Impaired Driving For 4/20

Saturday, April 20 marks the unofficial celebration of marijuana by cannabis enjoyers, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding Iowans that driving high can land drivers behind bars. NHTSA Region 7 Administrator Susan DeCourcy says, “Even if you don’t feel impaired after partaking in drug use, do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Impairment from drug use can sometimes be delayed, or you can be fooled into thinking you’re of sound mind when you’re not. State laws vary within our region, but the one constant is that driving with recreational drugs in your system is illegal everywhere.” She highlighted the initiative’s slogan, “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different,” to discourage individuals from driving while high. Studies conducted by NHTSA from 2019-2021 revealed that approximately 26 percent of drivers seriously injured or killed in accidents tested positive for THC, the active component in marijuana. The agency underscores the negative impact of marijuana on driving abilities, including slowed reaction times and impaired cognitive function. NHTSA urges those planning to use marijuana, which is a federal controlled substance and illegal, especially on 4/20, to refrain from driving afterward and to arrange for alternative transportation methods to ensure road safety. Community sober ride programs, taxis, or ride-share services are recommended. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to report impaired drivers to local law enforcement.


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