‘If You Feel Different, You Drive Different’

Although its origins are uncertain, April 20–more commonly known as 4/20–has become synonymous with marijuana use and, in some circles, the date is a marijuana holiday.

Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan tells KSAL News that his office, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are teaming up to spread the message that drug-impaired driving of any kind is danger and illegal. “If you feel different, you drive different.”

Just like drunk driving, drug-impaired driving is illegal nationally. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2009 and 2018, of those drivers killed in crash 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. It has been proven that THC can clow reaction times, impair cognitive performance and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.

If you’re a designated driver, stick to the plan: don’t use drugs. For all drivers, your best defense against impaired drivers on the road is your seat belt.

“It doesn’t matter what the day is, any impairment is a threat when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle,” Soldan says. “We are asking our community members to obey the law and to make safe choices when behind the wheel of a vehicle.”

Options to Get Home Safely

If you’re planning to use marijuana on 4/20, have a plan in place: don’t drive. If you leave your house unprepared to get home safely, you may not make the best choice of how to get home. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a safe night out:

  • If you have ingested an impairing substance such a 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 you to your destination. Like drunk driving, it is essential that drug-impaired drivers refrain from driving a vehicle. 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.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact the Saline County Sheriff’s Office.

By working together, we can safe lives and help keep America’s roadways safe. More information is at www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drug-impaired-driving.