Driving high is driving impaired

Devils Lake Journal

NORTH DAKOTA - The North Dakota Department of Transportation and North Dakota Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) want to remind drivers that driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal, even if prescribed medically or approved for recreational use in neighboring states and Canada. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 46% of drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes and were tested for drugs in 2018, tested positive. Although its origins are uncertain, many marijuana users will observe April 20 (more commonly known as 4/20) as a day of increased marijuana use. Driving high is driving impaired, which is dangerous and illegal. DREs warn about the possible outcomes of driving under the influence of marijuana as the 20th of April nears.

“Using marijuana slows reaction times, impairs cognitive performance and makes it difficult for drivers to perform the basic functions required when driving,” said DRE state coordinator Trooper Tarek Chase. “It’s important for all drivers to know that marijuana is not approved for use before or while driving - even if it is approved for recreational use. It’s illegal to drive impaired by any substance and it’s dangerous for the driver and other road users.”

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, a statewide enforcement campaign to remove impaired drivers from the road continues through May 23. Preliminary crash fatalities in 2021 are trending higher than previous years with 24 fatalities as of Friday, April 16, making this campaign a vital part of the Vision Zero strategy to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads.

For all drivers and vehicle occupants, your best defense against impaired drivers on the road is your seat belt. Visit the North Dakota Crash Memorial Wall to view memorials built on the hope of preventing another death on North Dakota roads.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

Be sure to follow Devils Lake Journal on our twitter page, @devilslakenews, and like us on Facebook!