Rates Of Drugged Driving Skyrocket, And This New Campaign Says No One Else Is Doing Anything About It
A new campaign launched last week aims to inform marijuana smokers that driving under the influence of pot isn’t a good idea by creating a rolling paper that animates a car crash when rolled.
Produced by We Save Lives, the leading organization dedicated to fighting drugged driving, the paper states, “Pot slows your reactions, don’t smoke and drive.” Over two dozen marijuana stores collaborated to distribute approximately 2,000 packs of this paper in the middle of World Cannabis Week, which took place in Denver.
For an anti-drugged driving organization to produce rolling paper courts a certain amount of controversy, but Candace Lightner, president of We Saves Lives and founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), has encountered similar opposition for joining up with the alcohol industry in the past to promote anti-drunk driving messages.
“I firmly believe that our work with them at the time encouraged them to become more responsible in their selling and marketing practices,” Lightner told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
In the case of the marijuana industry, collaboration seems quite effective.
“That this message has been well received by the marijuana community is encouraging,” Nicholas Thimmesch II, a media consultant and former staff writer at the Reagan White House, told TheDCNF.
Up to this point, public education on the potential dangers of driving under the influence is close to zero. Only Colorado and Washington are bothering to educate their citizens, and those education efforts arrived after legalization.
Lightner noted that as far as drugged driving is concerned, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has sat on the sidelines, aside from a 2014 survey which found that while drunk driving is trending downward, there’s been a significant increase in driving while high on marijuana.
In an effort to stop the problem from spiraling out of control, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy set a goal in 2011 to reduce drugged driving by 10 percent. Four years later, that goal has not been met.
“People are not only unaware they are in denial!” Lightner told TheDCNF. “Any time we put something on our website or social media about the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana almost all of the comments are in defense of the drug. No one does that when you talk about alcohol and driving.”
The science isn’t settled on the dangers of driving while high on marijuana, but We Save Lives prefers to err on the side of caution, especially given a tough law enforcement climate.
“At the current time, specific drug concentration levels cannot be reliably equated with a specific degree of driver impairment,” NHTSA wrote. Still, Colorado’s current limit for cannabis intoxication is five nanograms of THC per milliliter. Legislative efforts elsewhere have been met with skepticism. Some legislators don’t seem interested in cooperating with the campaign. A bill in California that would make it easier to test drivers under the influence was met with opposition from Bill Quirk, the chairman of the public safety committee. Quirk wanted to remove THC from the test. We Save Lives refused.
“If we had agreed it would have been a slap in the face to victims of pot impaired driving. However, we will be back next year,” Lightner added.
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