Updated on: 11/14/2019
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has always been on the lookout for people under the influence of drugs behind the wheel, but the passage of Initiative 502 in Washington state has them asking the same questions even more frequently as of late.
Via The Seattle Times:
“How much have you smoked tonight?”
“How long has it been since you used?”
“Do you have a legal amount of weed on you tonight?”
If anything, WSP officials say that the legalization of marijuana has given them a better understanding of what signs to look for and how to determine if a driver presents a danger to others on our roadways.
Of course, DUI-related accidents and arrests have historically spiked around the holiday season even before the recreational legalization of marijuana. But just as expected, legalization has made it even easier for people celebrating the holidays to add another intoxicating substance into the mix.
WSP Sergeant Grant Clark is a supervising trooper who is constantly involved in evaluating suspected impaired drivers, and part of his job duty is to sign off on warrant requests for drug tests if a driver refuses to submit to a blood draw after being pulled over.
“Drive High, Get a DUI"
Countless law enforcement officers across the country will participate in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to eradicate impaired driving. To get the message across to marijuana users ahead of the state’s legalization efforts, traffic safety advocates added a companion slogan, “Drive High, Get a DUI,” emphasizing that driving under the influence of marijuana would be treated the same as driving drunk.
Luckily for investigating officers, alcohol and marijuana both cause similar telltale signs of impairment in drivers. Swerving, crossing the centerline, or failing to follow traffic signals are some of the more common signs of marijuana impairment that officers are seeing today.
“We’re adapting as time goes on,” says WSP Trooper Will Finn. “We were doing it before, but it might not have been as pronounced.”
A person who is driving under the influence of marijuana or alcohol – or any other intoxicating substance, for that matter – presents a very serious danger to other drivers on the road, not to mention themselves. If you are out on the roads this holiday season and see a driver who you suspect could be impaired, authorities urge you to call 911 and report the driver.