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‘If You Feel Different, You Drive Different’: NHTSA campaign targets impaired driving

Drug Impaired Driving Enforced
Photo: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Washington — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has unveiled a campaign intended to raise awareness of drunk and drug-impaired driving by reminding motorists that “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.”

The campaign is scheduled to run through Labor Day (Sept. 3) and will feature ads on national TV, radio and digital platforms. It pairs with NHTSA’s annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative, which highlights the emergence of drugged driving and the opioid epidemic with the message, “Drive High, Get a DUI.”

A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility found that 44 percent of drivers killed in crashes in 2016 tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs – up from 28 percent in 2006.

“A driver’s judgment and ability to react are both impaired when driving high, but many drivers don’t realize that it’s dangerous and illegal,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King said in an Aug. 14 press release. “Driving either drunk or high is a DUI; impairment is impairment.”

In an Aug. 17 statement, the National Safety Council applauded NHTSA’s efforts amid a “complex” landscape in which some states have approved medicinal and recreational marijuana use while the opioid epidemic continues.

“Education, legislation and high-visibility enforcement can change behaviors,” NSC states. “NHTSA’s campaign rightly focuses on all three. The National Safety Council is pleased to support If You Feel Different, You Drive Different, and we look forward to the day when impaired driving crashes are a thing of the past.”

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