The Brookings Police Department is among law enforcement agencies reminding people not to spend the coming Labor Day holiday behind bars.
“Americans have spent the majority of this spring and part of the summer at home, and are now looking forward to any chance to celebrate a happy occasion,” a spokesperson for the police department said in a statement. “Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer, and many who eager to enjoy the last warm days of the season will host or attend barbecues and picnics. More parties and get-togethers mean more impaired drivers on the roads. Make sure you don’t spend your Labor Day holiday behind bars.”
With frequently changing state laws regarding marijuana use, drug-impaired-driving crashes are an increasing problem on the nation’s roads. To help prevent injuries and to help save lives during the long holiday weekend, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will team up with the Brookings Police Department during the “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign.
Between in late August and continuing through Sept. 7, law enforcement officers will protect community members by participating in high-visibility enforcement, pulling over and arresting drug-impaired drivers.
According to the NHTSA, between 2008 and 2017, of those drivers killed in crashes and tested for marijuana, marijuana use had nearly doubled. In 2017 alone, 45% of drivers who were killed in crashes, and tested for drugs, tested positive.
“This is why it’s so important we spread this lifesaving message,” the spokesperson said. “If you feel different, you drive different. Drive High Get A DUI.” It doesn’t matter what term you use: If a person is feeling a little high, buzzed, stoned, wasted, or drunk, he or she is impaired and should not get behind the wheel. Think driving while high won’t affect you? You are wrong. It has been proven that Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC — the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychoactive effects — can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.
Something as simple as cold medication or an over-the-counter sleep aid could impair your driving. If it does, you could be arrested for a DUI. If you are taking a new prescription drug or a higher dose of a current prescription drug, do not drive until you know what effect it has on your judgement, coordination, and reaction time. Any effect could impair your driving ability. In fact, certain medications may not cause impairment on their own, but if taken with a second medication or with alcohol, they may cause impairment. Any form of impaired driving is illegal.
The decision to drive sober should never be a tough one. Impaired driving of all types is illegal and can be deadly — to the driver, to his or her passengers, and to other road users. Law enforcement officers will be out on high alert, working hard to protect the community from drug-impaired drivers during this holiday period, and showing zero tolerance for anyone driving high or impaired. If you are pulled over and found to be driving impaired by any substance, you will be arrested. Nationally, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs — no exceptions. Alcohol and drug consumption lowers inhibitions, causing you to make bad decisions you would not otherwise make. Do not trust yourself to drive safely when you are drinking alcohol or on drugs.
"his high visibility enforcement campaign ends Sept. 7,” the BPD said in a release. “However, our commitment to enforcing impaired-driving laws never ends. Drug-impaired driving is never okay. If you are planning to indulge in an impairing substance, plan ahead for a sober ride home.
Remember these tips for a safe night on the roads:
• If you have ingested an impairing substance such as marijuana, alcohol, prescription drugs, sleep medication, or any form of illegal drug, 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 final 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 or alcohol? 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, call 911
For more information about the If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. campaign, visit https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/drug-impaired-driving/drive-high-get-dui.