Norman Police Take Action to End Drug-Impaired Driving in Oklahoma

Date of Press Release: 
Thu, 04/19/2018
Press Release By: 
Sarah Jensen

Starting at midnight on April 20, the Norman Police Department will join other law enforcement agencies from across Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Missouri to stop what has become an increasing epidemic for the past
several years; drug-impaired driving. The campaign will run for 42-hours and will focus on getting drug impaired drivers off Oklahoma roadways.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, in 2014, 63 people died in drug-related crashes. In 2016, 134 people were killed in drug-related crashes in the state of Oklahoma*. These numbers reflect an almost 115 percent increase in the number of people killed by drivers who may have been under the influence of drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes after 4:20 pm on April 20 is higher compared to the same times on days one week earlier and one week later. The Norman Police Department aims to put a stop to this alarming trend by putting more officers trained in recognizing drug impairment on the road.

Why April 20? According to Time Magazine, the date 4/20 became associated with marijuana use in the early 1970s with a group of teenagers from northern California. The trend was picked up by several bands and became mainstream in the early 1990s. Traditionally, marijuana users will smoke the drug at 4:20 pm on April 20 to celebrate the day and time. This is why the Norman Police Department is participating in this enhanced mobilization, to keep drug-impaired drivers off the streets of Norman.

During enforcement period, the Norman Police Department will make a concentrated effort to identify impaired drivers with saturation patrols across Norman. The goal is to have a highly visible enforcement program that will discourage impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel, while also addressing those who do make the poor decision to drive while impaired. These efforts will continue to maintain and enhance the quality of life in the City of Norman.

Remember, it is never safe to drive under the influence of any drug, whether it is alcohol or marijuana. Together, we can ENDUI in Oklahoma.

This enforcement campaign is funded in part by a grant through the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, and is done in partnership with ENDUI Oklahoma.

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*Drug-related crashes are those where at least one driver has tested positive for any amount of drugs, or where a law enforcement officer suspected that a driver might be under the influence of either illegal drugs or medication. These numbers include prescription medication and other drugs that may or may not cause impairment.