TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) Law enforcement officers all the state of Kansas will join six other states to crack down on impaired driving April 19 and April 20.
Agencies in Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma will be extra-vigilant when patrolling around the city, state and federal highways.
April 20, also known as 4/20, has become known as "Weed Day" or the day when smokers and non-smokers celebrate marijuana consumption.
According to a 2016 AAA poll in Kansas, only 63 percent of people consider driving after using marijuana ‘a very serious threat’ to their personal safety. In 2017, there were 287 crashes attributed to illegal drug use in Kansas, and 83 people died in these crashes.
“There’s a misconception that marijuana doesn’t affect your ability to drive,” said Chris Bortz, Traffic Safety Program Manager for the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). “That is just false. Illegal drugs can impair a person’s judgment, concentration and reaction time. Driving under the influence of any impairing substance is illegal for a reason.”
The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says all available Drug Recognition Expert and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driver Enforcement officers will be "out in force in an effort to remove this danger."
"Even one death is unacceptable. Please don't drive while impaired, slow down, put the phone away or turn it off, and always buckle up," said Sheriff Jeff Easter.
Citations will be issued to anyone who refuses to obey the traffic laws, whether it is for driving impaired, speeding, texting or failing to buckle up.