If you feel different, you drive different

To the Editor:

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working with law enforcement during the If You Feel Different, You Drive Different — Drive High, Get a DUI. high-visibility enforcement period, which runs through Jan. 1.

We are working to spread the word about the dangers of drug-impaired driving and to remind all drivers: If you plan to use drugs, plan ahead for a sober ride home.

If you’re planning to use marijuana or any impairing drug, do not drive. Designate a sober driver who won’t be using any drugs or call a ridesharing service or taxi. Someone who’s high shouldn’t be making decisions about driving; that’s why planning ahead is key.

In 2019, 49% of drivers who were killed in crashes and were tested for drugs, tested positive.

It doesn’t matter what term you use — high, stoned, or wasted — never get behind the wheel after using an impairing substance.

In every U.S. state and territory, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs — no exceptions.

Whether the drug is legally obtained or not, drug-impaired driving poses a threat to everyone on the road.

If you think driving while high from marijuana won’t affect you, you are wrong. Marijuana can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.

On average, a DUI could set you back $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates and car towing.

If you’re caught driving under the influence of any impairing substance, you can face jail time.

Drug-impaired driving could cause you to lose your driver’s license and your vehicle. This could stop you from getting to work, resulting in lost wages and, potentially, job loss.

If you’re planning to use drugs, plan ahead for a sober driver. It is essential that drug-impaired drivers refrain from driving. It is never OK 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. And you might just save a life.

To report an impaired driver, contact #688 or 911.

Sandy Wiechman

Wood County Safe Communities coordinator