🚗 The state has launched a new impaired driving campaign aimed at cannabis

🚗 The flyer informs drivers about the impacts of cannabis on traffic safety

🚗 Just like alcohol, it is not legal to drive under the influence of pot in NJ

A new impaired driving campaign has been launched, aimed at educating motorists on the dangers of driving under the influence of cannabis.

The campaign called “What You Need to Know About Cannabis and Driving in New Jersey,” is a joint effort between the AAA Clubs of New Jersey, The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, and The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

Public Affairs Manager of AAA Northeast, Shani Jarvis said an educational flyer was developed to inform drivers about the impact of cannabis on traffic safety.

It includes information about cannabis’ effect on reaction time, visual perception, cognition, and coordination. There is also a reminder to never drive under the influence of cannabis and the importance of either using a designated driver or finding alternative transportation options, as well as the penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis, Jarvis said.

“So if you’re going to drive, don’t smoke and if you’re going to smoke, don’t drive,” she said.

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Recent data from the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index found that 1 in 20 drivers admitted to driving within an hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days, and only 65% of drivers feel that driving within an hour of consuming cannabis is very or extremely dangerous.

AAA surveys have also found there are misconceptions regarding the dangers of driving under the influence of cannabis.

Jarvis said some people actually told her that they believe they drive better when they’ve ingested a little bit of marijuana, but she said the reality is that they don’t.

“It affects all of the critical skills you need to drive safely. It affects your reaction time, it affects your coordination, your ability to focus, pay attention, your ability to know what’s going on around you, your tracking, and your risk avoidance. You don’t make good decisions when you’re under the influence of cannabis,” Jarvis said.

She said it’s important for people to know that driving under the influence of cannabis is as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol.

PaulBiryukov GettyImages
PaulBiryukov GettyImages

“We’ve done decades and generations of research and campaigns that have gotten drinking and driving to where it is, making it very, very taboo, and we need to just do that with cannabis,” she added.

Jarvis said while it’s legal to use marijuana in the state of New Jersey, it is not legal to drive impaired by the substance, just like alcohol. It’s important to wait until you’re in a safe, legal place to use cannabis, and never drive high.

The educational flyer literature, available in both English and Spanish will be distributed to every marijuana dispensary across the state and will be provided to consumers at each point of sale.

There are a total of 35 dispensaries throughout the state currently open, according to the most recent data from the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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