NORTH COUNTY–Community members joined with high school students from Escondido, Poway and San Marcos to hold rallies to raise awareness of the public safety risks associated with driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and marijuana.
The events precede New Year’s Eve celebrations and the January 1 start of recreational marijuana sales in California and piggyback on “Drugged Driving Awareness Month” proclamations issued earlier this month by the County Board of Supervisors and the Escondido, Poway, San Diego and San Marcos City Councils and pre-Christmas rallies in Carmel Mountain Ranch and Fallbrook.
All the activities are part of a larger, collaborative “Put Drugged Driving on Your Radar” campaign to get people to recognize that driving under the influence of any impairing substance is dangerous. The campaign asks them to avoid doing so and to call 911 to report drivers who may be under the influence.
Drugged driving is a major threat to everyone’s safety. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, in 2013, 32 percent of all drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes who were tested, tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs. And the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2014, 10 million people aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs in the past year.
Law enforcement and city officials anticipate an increased number of drugged driving crashes after January 1, when recreational marijuana sales become legal in California.