Roadside Chat - That's not why it's called a "high" way. Drive sober

4-21 high wayWhat do you think of when you hear the term “impaired driving?” For many of us, the first thing that comes to mind is drinking and then getting behind the wheel. But with more than 20 states around the country now legalizing recreational marijuana, driving high now frequently enters into the impaired driving discussion.

The dangers of driving high versus driving drunk can invoke some intense responses, but most people will concede that any impairment can cause issues when you’re behind the wheel.

The Centers for Disease Control recently posted, “Marijuana use can impair important skills required for safe driving by:

  • slowing your reaction time and ability to make decisions
  • impairing coordination
  • distorting perception

recent analysis of U.S. public safety data showed that from 2000 to 2018, the percentage of motor vehicle fatalities involving cannabis more than doubled from nine percent to about 22 percent. By contrast, the percentage of fatalities involving alcohol stayed roughly the same during this period.

Whether you have a few drinks, use marijuana, or partake in another drug, getting behind the wheel when you’re impaired is dangerous for you and everyone who shares the road with you.

So far this year in Iowa, 86 people have been killed in traffic crashes. That’s an increase of four since last Friday. In Iowa in 2022, there were 338 traffic-related deaths. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

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