It was THE breaking news, no matter what news station you watched, what cable news network you turned to, what social media outlet you logged onto…it was THE story: Justin Bieber was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. But as details of the arrest emerged–as well as Bieber’s infamous ear-to-ear grin in his mug shot–it appears that the “influence” he was under was not alcohol. Bieber’s BAC was measured .014, well below the legal limit of .08. Nonetheless, reports stated that Bieber had failed a field sobriety test. So what exactly was Justin Bieber under the influence of?
It turns out that Bieber admitted to police that he had smoked pot before getting behind the wheel of the rented Lamborghini. (He also said he took a prescription antidepressant.) So while Bieber was not under the influence of alcohol, it appears that he may have been under the influence of marijuana.
Ironically, Bieber’s arrest may have done more to advance the cause of Colorado’s “Don’t Drive Stoned!” Ad Campaign than all the television Public Service Announcements will ever accomplish. Your Denver accident attorney points out that failing a field sobriety test while not being drunk but still being impaired draws the nation’s attention to the fact that DUI’s are not only about alcohol. There is a common misperception that marijuana does not impair driving. “Marijuana affects reaction time, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, concentration, and perception of time and distance,” states Darrell Lingk, with Colorado’s Office of Transportation Safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is sponsoring a training program and ad campaign through Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Some of the funding will be used to train more law enforcement officers to spot pot-impaired drivers. Currently, there are 185 specifically trained drug recognition experts spread among Colorado law enforcement agencies. Officials would like to increase that number by 35 more officers.
Another portion of the funding will go to television advertising. A third portion will go to posters warning of the consequences of impaired driving that will be distributed to stores selling marijuana. Your Denver accident attorney notes that retailers of medical and recreational use marijuana support the ad campaign because they want to keep the use on the straight and narrow so that the industry can continue to thrive: “CDOT and the industry want to stress the importance of using this newly legalized drug in a safe manner.” Medical Marijuana Industry Group executive director Mike Elliot.
The “Don’t Drive Stoned” campaign kicks off in March, with a series of public service announcements warning drivers that offenders will face similar penalties to those caught driving under the influence of alcohol. The posters will also begin to be distributed in March.
As the arrest of one of America’s biggest teen celebrities proved, driving under the influence means more than driving drunk. For more information on the “Don’t Get Stoned” Campaign, or on the legal limit of marijuana for purposes of driving, contact your Denver accident attorney.