Our fair city hosted the 22nd annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Impaired Driving Conference earlier this month, organized by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The event was the largest in its history, drawing attendees from all 50 states as well as other countries such as China and Northern Ireland. CDOT took the opportunity to highlight the “Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign, in order to draw attention to the problem of drugged driving in Colorado in the wake of 2012’s recreational marijuana legalization.
The Colorado State Patrol estimates that around one-fifth of DUIs in the state are marijuana-related, and CDOT highway safety manager Glenn Davis believes that this number is going to increase in the future due to the specialized training that law enforcement receives to identify high drivers.
What Do Police Look for at DUI-D Stops?
Unlike alcohol, it is currently impossible to test a person’s breath for marijuana at a DUI stop (though they’re definitely trying to change that). The only way to know for sure that a driver is high is to take a blood test, but there are hoops that the police have to jump through to get that done. So how do police identify high drivers to pull over?
Many smokers believe that they either drive better high or their driving is unaffected by marijuana. And this can be true – people with a high tolerance for marijuana could have more than the legal limit for marijuana in their blood and exhibit no signs of impairment. However, the drug can cause erratic driving behaviors that tip off the police as to the driver’s condition. These include:
- Speeding up inappropriately
- Slowing down inappropriately
- Driving through stop signs, or stopping for too long
- Weaving between lanes
- Inability to stay in the lines on the road
Once an officer has probable cause to pull you over, they will come to the suspected high driver’s car to search for other signs of impairment, such as the smell of marijuana, red or glassy eyes and slurred responses. If you are taken in due to drugged driving, you have a very real chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed by discussing your case with an attorney.