April 20th, a.k.a. 4/20, has long been considered the worldwide unofficial occasion for celebrating the cannabis plant and all of its wonders. While 4/20 can be a fun time to celebrate legalization progress in your area or show your allegiance with the counterculture where there has not been so much progress, safety is paramount no matter what.
For starters, one of the best ways to stay safe on 4/20 is to stay off the road. With more drivers on the road under the influence of cannabis and other substances, driving on 4/20 is far riskier than usual. Beyond those dangers, the risk of getting a DUI is higher too since cops are well aware of the ‘holiday.’
According to Canadian researchers who studied 25 years of data on fatal crashes in the U.S., the risk of being in a fatal crash is 12% higher from 4:20 p.m. to midnight on April 20th when compared to the same time just seven days earlier. For drivers younger than age 21, the risk is 38% higher. These findings were published a year ago in a research letter in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
“Driving under the influence of any drug, including cannabis and alcohol, all too often has tragic consequences. Combining both cannabis and alcohol is even more dangerous than using either substance alone, leading to greater impairment and a greater risk of getting into a crash,” said Helen Witty, National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a.k.a. MADD.
“My 16-year-old daughter, Helen Marie, was rollerblading on a bike path near our home when a marijuana-and alcohol-impaired teen driver ran off the road and struck her. Helen Marie died an instant, violent death, and my life changed forever.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, THC, the naturally-occurring cannabinoid in marijuana responsible for the high feeling, affects areas of the brain that control your body’s movements, balance, coordination, memory, and judgment — skills needed to drive safely.
“Marijuana does not make you a better driver,” Witty said. “In fact, it can slow reaction time and interfere with your ability to make decisions. It can distort perception and make it harder to solve problems. The dangers become even greater when you combine marijuana with alcohol, which is still the deadliest threat on our roadways.”
“Just because you drive somewhere, doesn’t mean you have to drive home,” Witty said. “With so many options available today, there is never any excuse to drive drunk or high. Please, designate a non-drinking, non-consuming driver, use public transportation, call a taxi or use a ride share app like Uber.”
With Saturday, April 20th, 2019 just around the corner, remember to stay safe and celebrate wisely. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to updates here so you never miss an important development.
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