Arkansas State Troopers and law enforcement officers across the state will intensify their patrols next week looking for drivers who are impaired by drugs. The special operation is part of a five state plan directed toward the dangerous practice of driving while under the influence of both illegal and legal drugs.
If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DWI, will kick-off Sunday, April 18th and continue through next Tuesday, April 20th. Law enforcement agencies in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska are participating in the coordinated operation to get drug impaired drivers off the streets and highways.
During the If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DWI effort in Arkansas, state troopers, local police officers and sheriff’s deputies will intensify enforcement of drug impaired driving laws. Just as drunk driving is caused by the consumption of alcohol, driving while intoxicated by drugs is illegal in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. Officers will stop and arrest anyone they find to be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
It’s an erroneous presumption by many that driving while high won’t diminish their judgement or ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Studies have proven that THC, the active component of marijuana, slows the mind’s reaction time, impairs cognitive performance, and challenges the ability of a driver to safely hold their position inside a traffic lane.
The simple truth is it doesn’t matter what term is used, anyone who is high, stoned, wasted, or drunk, is impaired. Driving while impaired is illegal and can be deadly to the driver and others on the road.
“Operating any kind of vehicle while under the influence of a drug is dangerous and can lead to injury or death on the roadways,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Arkansas State Police Director and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.
“It doesn’t have to be an illegal substance to cause impairment, it can be medicine for a cold or a sleep aid,” Colonel Bryant continued. “Many over the counter and prescribed medications, as well as illegal substances like marijuana or cocaine can lead to impaired driving that will result in a DWI charge against the driver. Our state troopers and law enforcement partners will make no exceptions.”
A driver should always remember to never over medicate themselves, never drive after being prescribed a new medication until its known what effect it might have on their judgment, coordination, and reaction time. While particular medications may not necessarily impair a driver, the combination of a second or third medicine or the consumption of alcohol can often lead to impairment. Any form of impaired driving is illegal and can result in the arrest of a driver.
When travel is necessary and someone is impaired, there are options to get to a destination that should be considered. Ask a sober driver for help, use public transportation, a rideshare service or call a friend before trying to drive while impaired. The extra time it might take could save someone’s life.
* More information about impaired driving can be found at https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drug-impaired-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. A recorded video statement from Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA Acting Administrator, speaking about the drug impaired driving operation, can be accessed at http://bit.ly/420VideoMessaging2021. Additional state specific video messages are also available at the web site.
** Additional information regarding Arkansas’ Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities can be obtained at www.TZDArkansas.org.