This Labor Day weekend, law enforcement in Berks County are participating in the “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI” impaired driving awareness campaign, which runs through September 6, 2021.
Chief Wendell Morris of the Exeter Township Police Department partnered with Reading Standard Motorsports this week to help spread a lifesaving message: “It doesn’t matter what term you use: If a person is feeling a little high, buzzed, stoned, wasted, or drunk, he or she should not get behind the wheel. Think driving while high won’t affect you? You’re wrong. It has been proven that THC can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2009 and 2018, of those drivers killed in crashes and tested for marijuana, the presence of marijuana had nearly doubled. In 2018, 46% of drivers who were killed in crashes and were tested for drugs, tested positive.
Exeter Police Sergeant David Bentz is the Berks County Coordinator for the North Central Regional DUI Enforcement Program. “We want to support our community by keeping it safe from drug-impaired drivers. The bottom line is that no matter what the substance is, if it has impaired you, you should not be driving. We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy Labor Day. Please commit to yourself and your community members that you’ll drive sober over the holiday weekend, and every day,” Sergeant Bentz said.
Violating Pennsylvania’s drug-impaired-driving laws can be costly. Chief Morris wants to encourage the community to play it safe and remember these safety tips preparing for the holiday:
- If you have used an impairing substance such as marijuana, 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 are planning to use drugs, plan ahead for 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.
- 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 available, use your community’s sober ride program or use UBER or LYFT
If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact 911.
“Driving impaired is a choice,” said Sergeant Bentz. “Make the right choice and find a sober ride home if you’ve used an impairing substance. Let’s work together to end impaired driving.”
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