“The term 4/20 is synonymous with drug use, so that’s why we’re conducting this project (today) through Sunday.” That’s Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Nate Ludwig, who says drug-impaired driving is becoming a bigger issue on the state’s roads.
“I know the fatality rate attributed to those that are impaired has gone up over the last few years,” Ludwig says. “When people think of impaired driving, they just think of drunk driving from alcohol. But, it’s anything – whether you ingest it, absorb it, smoke it – anything that’s going to impair your cognitive ability to operate a vehicle is impaired driving.”
The Drug Impaired Driving enforcement campaign will involve more officers on roadways looking for erratic drivers who could be under the influence of drugs. Ludwig says many marijuana users believe it’s harmless to smoke-up and get behind the wheel.
“And they’re wrong because anytime you do that, the chemical that’s in it is going to slow your reaction time, impair your cognitive performance, and it’s going to make it more difficult for you to drive down the road and be safe,” Ludwig said.
The enforcement campaign involves Iowa and five other states; Arkansas, Kansas, Missoturi, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. The Lawrence, Kanas Police Department recently posted a message to Twitter saying “Hey potheads planning to toke up on 4/20, stay off the roads. Stock up on Cheetos and Mt. Dew before you spark.”