Ahead of 4/20, MADD Reminds Everyone to Always Designate an Unimpaired Driver When Plans Include Marijuana, Alcohol or Any Other Impairing Drug

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Research shows risk of fatal crash is 12% higher from 4:20 p.m. to midnight on April 20

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Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reminds everyone to do their part to keep our roads and communities safe on 4/20 by designating a driver who has not consumed marijuana, alcohol or any other impairing drugs on the unofficial marijuana “holiday.”

Driving while high on marijuana is impaired driving and can result in a DUI. MADD wants everyone to receive this simple message: If you’re celebrating 4/20 on Tuesday, please be safe and stay at home or plan for a designated driver before leaving home. The goal is to have zero drugged and drunk driving arrests and zero crashes.

“As a growing number of states legalize marijuana, we want to make sure everyone is aware of the risks of consuming and driving while impaired by marijuana and all mind-altering substances,” said MADD National President Alex Otte. “There are so many options for safely getting around that there’s no excuse to ever get behind the wheel impaired. The easiest way to prevent tragedies caused by drugged and drunk driving is to designate a driver before consuming any impairing substance.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the main active ingredient in cannabis, delta-9-THC, affects areas of the brain that control the body’s movements, balance, coordination, memory and judgment — skills needed to drive safely.

A new study published in the Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews in January suggests people who have inhaled cannabis should wait at least five hours before performing safety tasks such as driving, and longer for those who have consumed edibles.

Yet, a survey conducted for MADD by IPSOS in 2020 found that one in eight U.S. adults admits to having driven under the influence of marijuana within two hours after consuming. And as more states legalize marijuana use, 76% of those surveyed said they believe that incidents of driving after consuming marijuana will increase.

“There is this myth that marijuana will make you a better driver. It does not. In fact, it can slow reaction time, interfere with your ability to make decisions, distort perception and make it harder to solve problems,” said Otte. “As the research continues to pile up, we need to make sure to dispel false beliefs that it is OK to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Impairment is impairment. And the choices people make after consuming marijuana can be deadly.”

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 percent higher from 4:20 p.m. to midnight on April 20 compared to the same time one week earlier. For drivers younger than 21, the risk is 38 percent higher. The findings were published three years ago in a research letter in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit http://www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.

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Becky Iannotta
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