Legalized recreational marijuana raises a host of questions, including a major issue: how do police stop so-called drugged driving? Enforcement and detection is one problem, but awareness is perhaps even more important. To that end, Colorado this week unveiled a $1 million ad campaign to drive the point home that weed and automobiles don't mix.
In one ad, a stoned guy celebrates hanging his flat-screen TV on the wall and heads over to get some victory tortilla chips. Right on cue, the TV smashes to the floor. In case you didn't get the point, the ad reads: "Installing a TV while high is now legal. Driving to get a new one isn't."
The Colorado Department of Transportation, which produced the ads with federal funding from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, is hoping to dispel notions that weed somehow enhances one's driving ability. "We heard repeatedly that people thought marijuana didn't impact their driving ability, and some believed it actually made them a better driver," a DOT representative tells the Denver Post.
According to the Associated Press, Colorado State Patrol has caught 61 "drugged drivers" since the beginning of the year, and 31 of those cases were tied to marijuana. But behind those numbers and the goofy TV ads is the growing problem of figuring out just how police officers test to see if drivers are impaired. Work is underway to set a limit akin to the well-known 0.08 blood alcohol content cutoff, but proper, surefire tests for determining impairment in the field are still in the works.