Law enforcement agencies step up patrol for EndDUI 420 Campaign

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Over 20 law enforcement agencies from local, county, and state departments are participating in the EndDUI 420 campaign that started on Friday.
April 20th marks a non-official "holiday" celebrating marijuana use.

Officials will be stepping up patrol and setting up DUI checkpoints across the state in the next 42 hours to deter impaired driving by identifying and arresting drivers who are under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or other intoxicating substances.

This will be the first time Oklahoma has participated in a campaign like this and that's because 134 people were killed across the state in 2016 during drug related crashes. Agencies including the Oklahoma Highway Patrol determined it was time to make a change and stop people from driving under the influence and making bad decisions.

"Over the last two year we a seen a significant increase in our DUI drug related crashes. That's very alarming and almost 115 percent in two years in drug related crashes," Mackey said.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Nathan Mackey said starting today and into this weekend law enforcement agencies will have a zero tolerance for drug-impaired driving.

"If you are driving under the influence of marijuana or cannabis or any kind of prescription medication, alcohol, or anything like that you will be taken to jail, Mackey said.

A Journal of the American Medical Association study shows a 12 percent increase in fatal crashes on April 20th. OHP said if you smoke marijuana or cannabis don't get behind the wheel because most troopers and officers are drug recognition experts.

"When you get stopped and the officer suspects impairment they will call one us and we can do a clinical evaluation on you and we will be able to prove in the court that you are under the influence of one of the drugs in the category," Mackey said.

OHP said smoking marijuana or cannabis can affect your reaction time. If you are under the influence of the drug it can takes about a second longer for you brain to tell you to hit the brake pedal or steering wheel.

"So, if you are traveling at even 25 to 30 miles per hour that second makes a great deal when a child runs out in front of you or car pulls out in front of you. Every second and foot counts obviously," Mackey said.

Once your caught, you can expect to pay a pretty penny in court cost and fines.

"You're going to lose your license for a minimum of six months. On a second offense, it can be a year or greater and fines add up. Typically DUI's usually cost around 10,000 dollars from front to end by the time you are done," Mackey said.

OHP encourages people to not to get behind the wheel if you have used any drug, alcohol or prescription. Instead plan and make sure you have a sober driver to take you home or use a ride-sharing company.

"If you crash or you hurt somebody, or someone gets killed whether its yourself or somebody else that's something you or your family are going to have to deal with for the rest of your life. It's not worth it and we don't want to do that. The worst part of our job is making next to kin notifications when any one dies in any fatality crash. But it's especially hard when it's something that is completely avoidable and it was due to somebody's poor decision making," Mackey said.

The data collected from each checkpoint will be sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While troopers will be looking for impaired drivers they will on the look out for DUI, speeding, and those not wearing a seat belt.

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