Colorado driving programs focus on dangers of cannabis-impaired driving

CDOT is calling the initiative “Drive High, Get A DUI.”
KKTV 11 News at 4 (Recurring)
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 3:28 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A new initiative is hitting the roads Wednesday, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is heading it up.

CDOT is calling the initiative “Drive High, Get A DUI.”

According to Colorado law, it is illegal for anyone younger than 21 years old to use non-medical marijuana. But about 1 in 10 teens have either driven or been a passenger of someone who has used marijuana.

CDOT and local driving programs are focused on explaining the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving.

“We are trying to get them prepared to enter into their early adult years, which they’re going to be confronted with some really hard choices around drinking and driving,” Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager, said. “Perhaps using marijuana and driving, and we just want them to have all the information that’s out there so that they can make a safe decision.”

Colorado drivers in their twenties consistently have some of the highest rates of DUIs. That is what CDOT, the DMV, and local certified driving programs hope to change.

CDOT said most people know that you can get a DUI for driving and drinking, but many people, especially teens, don’t know that you can get a DUI for cannabis. Officials added that it has many of the same effects as alcohol.

“It affects your vision and affects your reaction time, your perception of time distance and speed,” Cole said. “Those are all affected when you drive, and you are under the influence of cannabis or alcohol. It especially affects your judgment and your ability to make smart decisions and quick decisions.”

The new program is for ages fifteen to twenty and shows the very real consequences of driving under the influence of marijuana.

These programs hope by addressing the issue, teens and adults will make responsible decisions on Colorado roadways.

CDOT told 11 News if you are caught driving under the influence it can mean losing your license, fines, and community service. They also say a DUI can follow you into adulthood.

“It’s not just a traffic ticket; this is a criminal offense,” Cole said. “It comes with perhaps jail time, loss of license, treatment, therapy, community service, and upwards of $13 - 14,000 in fines and penalties. It’s something you want to avoid at all costs.”

Sam Cole with CDOT also said if an adult’s driving abilities are impaired through the use of marijuana, they are subjected to a DUI charge as well.