New drugged driving campaign in Colorado warns drivers that while pot use is legal, it’s not appropriate everywhere
Colorado traffic safety officials unveiled a new campaign aimed at catching the attention of drivers tempted to get behind the wheel after smoking marijuana. State officials have begun surreptitiously parking cars outside of concerts, sporting events and at shopping malls. The special cars have fans hidden inside blowing non-toxic smoke out of the windows, revealing messages that warn “Drive High, Get a DUI.” It’s part of Colorado’s efforts to remind marijuana users that while pot use is legal, it’s not appropriate everywhere. The campaign was announced as thousands of marijuana enthusiasts from across the world are descending on Denver this weekend for the annual Cannabis Cup competition, a separate marijuana-themed festival, and a cannabis investor summit.
The University of Michigan Injury Center and the U-M Transportation Research Institute is providing quite a bit more weight behind the argument that car manufacturers should be required to equip new vehicles with alcohol ignition interlocks. These devices would test and verify the driver’s blood alcohol level before the car would start. An obvious argument against that is the increase to the price of the car, but the U-M study showed that the savings would actually be nearly $23 billion and 4,000 lives annually.
Researchers analyzed data from 2005 and 2010 national surveys on alcohol use. The surveys involved almost 9,000 people from across the United States. The results showed that simultaneous users were almost six times more likely to binge drink at least once a month, compared with people who only drank alcohol. People who drank alcohol and used pot separately were nearly twice as likely to binge drink, which was defined as five or more drinks in a day. Responses to questions about alcohol-related problems revealed that simultaneous users were more than twice as likely to drive drunk as alcohol-only users, the study reported.
MAAD testified Tuesday in Texas in support of an ignition interlock bill. The bill proposes first-time offenders could decide if they want to lose the privilege to drive, or have an ignition interlock device installed instead. Many drivers who get DWIs lose their licenses, but advocates of House Bill 2246 believe that punishment is not enough. They claim that a suspended license does not prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel. They often drive out of necessity, to conduct normal lives.
If passed, anybody convicted of an alcohol-related DWI charge in North Carolina, despite their BAC, would need to get an ignition interlock device. Currently, the only people who have these devices are people who were convicted of having a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher. The bill is currently being reviewed and has not been voted on yet.