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Drive High, Get a DUI.  Drug-Impaired Driving is Illegal and Deadly.

CHARLESTON, WV – Leading to and including Labor Day weekend, the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and West Virginia law enforcement agencies for the annual If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI high visibility enforcement mobilization. From August 17 through September 5, law enforcement agencies across West Virginia will be emphasizing dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities to take drug-impaired drivers off the road.“It doesn’t matter if you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol, make a good decision and don’t put yourself or other West Virginia road users at risk. It’s not worth it. Never drive impaired,” Gov. Jim Justice said.It is illegal to drive while impaired by any substance, including illegal drugs, alcohol, or certain prescription medications.No matter what term you use—stoned, high, or wasted—no one should drive while impaired. If you think being high won’t affect your driving, you’re wrong. Studies have proven that marijuana can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult to safely operate a vehicle. This is true for certain medications, too. There is a reason why some prescription medications come with a warning to not operate heavy machinery—like a motor vehicle—while taking that medication.Nationwide, in 2019, 49% of drivers killed in crashes and were tested for drugs, tested positive. This startling statistic is why both high visibility enforcement of West Virginia’s impaired driving laws and lifesaving messages like If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI are an important part of the GHSP’s year-round activities to reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries in West Virginia. The  GHSP supports several statewide high-visibility enforcement mobilizations targeting impaired driving throughout the year.“Enforcing our impaired driving laws is just one of the many ways law enforcement officers keep West Virginians safe. Regardless of what the substance is, if it affects your ability to safely operate your vehicle, you should not be driving,” said GHSP Director Bob Tipton.West Virginia has been a Drug Evaluation Classification (DEC) state since 2013, allowing law enforcement officers to have the opportunity to become a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). Officers who are DREs are specially trained to conduct detailed evaluations of individuals suspected of driving while impaired by illegal drugs or impairing prescription medications. DREs are an integral part of keeping drugged drivers off West Virginia’s roadways. Violating West Virginia’s drug-impaired-driving laws will lead to a DUI, which includes fines and possibly jail.“Driving impaired is a choice, and it’s a bad and potentially deadly choice. Some of the consequences of impaired driving include being in a crash, injuring or killing yourself or someone else, or being issued a citation,” Tipton continued. “If you’ve used an impairing substance, make the right choice and find a sober ride home. Keep yourself and those in your community safe.”Remember these safety tips as you prepare for the end-of-summer festivities, and spread the message to your friends and family: It is illegal to drive while impaired by any substance, whether illegal or prescribed. If you have used an impairing substance such as marijuana or certain prescription medications, do not drive. Passengers should never ride with an impaired driver. If you think a driver may be impaired, do not get in the car. If you have used an impairing substance, get a sober driver to safely drive you to your destination. Like drunk driving, it is essential that drug-impaired drivers refrain from driving a vehicle. It is never okay to drive while impaired by any substance. If available, use your community’s sober ride program. Do you have a friend who is about to drive while impaired by drugs? Take the keys away and arrange to get them home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone — they’ll thank you later. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.Please join us in sharing the lifesaving message, If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drug-impaired-driving. For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit highwaysafety.wv.gov or call 304-926-2509.