Driving while under the influence of marijuana has become a chronic problem for Missouri.
Missouri has launched its second drug-impaired driving enforcement campaign with the tagline “Drive high, get a DUI,” according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
With the slogan, “If you feel different, you drive different,” the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is hoping to crack down on drivers under the influence of marijuana by increasing law enforcement Friday and Saturday.
Medical marijuana is legal in 34 states, including Missouri, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in all 50 states.
Jon Nelson, assistant to the State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer, said drug-impaired driving has taken its toll on Missouri and that MoDOT is trying to do whatever it can to combat the issue.
Nelson said the state is seeing more drug-impaired driving crashes while the nation is pushing to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. He said the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is trying to end the myth about driving safely while under the influence of marijuana.
“It is not different than any other substances,” Nelson said. “(Marijuana) inhibits your ability to drive safe.”
Preliminary MoDOT data from 2018 shows that 78 people were killed in crashes involving at least one drug-impaired driver, which amounts to eight percent of Missouri’s 2018 traffic fatalities. Over 140 more people were seriously injured in Missouri crashes that involved at least one drug-impaired driver, according to the news release. The release, however, did not specify which drugs were involved.
The Missouri Coalition of Roadway Safety recommends designating a sober driver, getting a taxi or using public transportation to ensure everyone gets home safe.
For more information on this campaign and other road safety initiatives, visit savemolives.com.
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