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Don’t Drug and Drive, HPD Warns

August 28, 2019, 11:19 AM HST
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Labor Day Weekend is just a few days away and the Hawai’i Police Department (HPD) has made known its intention to seek out drunk and/or high drivers.

“Almost everyone knows that driving drunk is dangerous, puts lives at risk and can get you a DUI—but there isn’t the same awareness for drug-impaired driving,” said Heidi King, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “At NHTSA, we are working hard to raise awareness among the driving public of the fact that driving impaired by drugs is illegal in every state. We want to encourage people to think twice before driving and to follow through by designating a sober driver, calling a cab or using a ridesharing service.”

In 2016, 42% of the drivers killed in fatal crashes who were tested, tested positive for drugs, according to an HPD press release. NHTSA’s 2013-14 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers found that nearly one in four people classified as weekend nighttime drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could impair their ability to drive safely.

If a person is feeling a little high, buzzed, stoned, wasted or drunk, he or she is impaired and should never get behind the wheel, the HPD release continued.

It has been proven that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychoactive effects—slows reaction times, impairs cognitive performance and makes it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane, HPD said.

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Something as simple as cold medication or an over-the-counter sleep aid could impair your driving. If it does, you will be arrested for a DUI, police warned. If you are taking a new prescription drug or a higher dose of a current prescription drug, do not drive until you know what effect it has on your judgment, coordination and reaction time. Any effect could impair your driving ability, the release continued.

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Certain medications may not impair you on their own, but if taken with a second medication or with alcohol, they may cause impairment. Any form of impaired driving is illegal by state law.

HPD will have officers patrolling and at designated roadblocks throughout the island.

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