RBC | In January I talked about crashes during the 2018 holiday season which took nine lives in seven crashes during a 72 hour period. We now need to start looking at the causes of these crashes. Each of them had a different reason for the crash, but each one did have one thing in common: a lack of due care on the roadway. Let’s start with an obvious one today; mixing drinking, drugs and driving.
Safety is all about having a preventative mindset. By this I mean why anyone would ever want to push the limit that could injure themselves or others is beyond me. I say it’s not worth it. If you are going out to drink, take the preventative measures to not push that limit, even if you only to plan to have one or two drinks. Option 1: Have someone in the group be the designated driver. This option has been around for decades, yet people still fail to realize, or choose to ignore, what the consequences are if you choose to drink and drive.
Option 2: plan for someone to pick you up. There are many options available today including sober friends, or ride share services. Again, not rocket science, but very effective. My question to those who do this type of careless behavior, is how many times does it have to be stated for it to become standard practice that no one will ever do it again?
I have arrested plenty of people who went out to have a couple of drinks and ended up in jail. Their life is forever changed from that point on. I like to think I prevented them from making their life much worse because they killed someone prior to being stopped by law enforcement.
Marijuana impaired driving has been around a long time, but is still relatively new as a legalized drug. The problem I am seeing with this drug is users don’t believe it is dangerous to drive while using it. It can cause your cognitive thinking to become skewed. If it wasn’t bad enough already with marijuana impaired drivers, now there is increased danger for the driving public. Some marijuana users combine it with alcohol, which can enhance the impairment while driving.
Another issue we have is prescription drugs which are becoming a lot more prevalent on our roads. My years working the road have shown me that people on prescription drugs don’t look the same as driving under the influence of alcohol.
A prescription drug is regulated by doctors because the drugs change a person’s chemistry. This means they are going to make the user react differently, think differently and judge situations differently than they normally would. Even if you don’t think you feel differently, you will be affected one way or the other. Prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as driving while drinking or using marijuana.
Think in these terms, if I told you I wanted you to do a task, but there was a 50 percent chance that while doing the task you would kill or severely injure yourself or a friend, would you do it? Now if that wasn’t enough to dissuade you, then I add that even if you don’t kill someone, you may go to jail, will you do it?
Please keep in mind that it just isn’t worth it. I hope I have changed the mindset of at least one person that read this article to be preventative in their actions.
As always, safe travels!
By Trooper Gary Cutler | Colorado State Patrol