Members of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on DUII are reminding motorists this holiday season that it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. In Oregon, there is no presumed blood level of marijuana in a driver’s system that implies that the driver is impaired. The most important thing is, no matter what the substance – legal or illegal – if it impairs you, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel. Police officers know marijuana affects reaction time, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, concentration and perception of time and distance – all of which are vital functions for driving safely.
According to Dan Estes, ODOT’s Impaired Driving Program manager safety advocates in Oregon are busy gathering facts about how marijuana, now that it is legal to use recreationally, affects driving. There’s a myth out there he said that marijuana doesn’t affect behavior behind the wheel or otherwise, but evidence shows that it does. Now Estes said is the time to increase awareness about that and prevent impaired driving. Oregon has approximately 200 officers statewide that are trained as Drug Recognition Experts or DREs.
In addition, Oregon continues to increase basic drug-detection training to police officers through the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement program. According to Oregon DRE Coordinator Sgt. Evan Sether of the Oregon State Police, more than 400 police officers have been trained in advance impaired driving enforcement and more training is scheduled for 2016.The Governor’s Advisory Committee on DUII, tasked with helping raise awareness of the dangers of DUII and getting communities involved in reducing DUII, hopes that Oregonians, like those who don’t drink and drive, will consider the tragic consequences that can occur when marijuana and driving mix – and then take personal responsibility for making safe choices.