New statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety are alarming with regard to how many people think they can get away with smoking marijuana as they drive.
“Nearly 70 percent of Americans think it’s unlikely that a driver will get caught by the police for driving while high on marijuana,” said AAA Kansas spokesman Shawn Steward. “Another 15 million Americans reported driving within one hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days.”
The most impairing effects of marijuana are usually experienced within the first one to four hours after using the drug.
“Drug-impaired driving is becoming a bigger issue even than alcohol,” said Steward. “Even though marijuana may be legal in some states, it is not here in Kansas. The fact is, it’s never legal anywhere to drive while impaired by marijuana, other drugs or alcohol.”
Law enforcement officers across Kansas are receiving training to prepare for expected increases in drivers under the influence of marijuana.
“Arrests for marijuana-impaired driving have increased 20% across the nation since 2015, and that’s a trend that’s reflected in Kansas, with not only marijuana, but other drugs as well,” said Steward. “The law enforcement community in the state is prepared for this.”
Programs like Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program were developed to train law enforcement officers around the country to more effectively recognize drug-impaired driving.Kansas’ ARIDE-trained officers now total about 600, part of more than 87,000 ARIDE-trained officers patrolling U.S. roads.