An average of 125 drunk or high drivers die on Massachusetts roads each year, public safety officials said Wednesday (8) as they launched a public awareness campaign intended to prevent impaired driving as retail marijuana shops prepare to open.
“If you’re high or stoned, you are not a safe driver,” Undersecretary for Public Safety and Security Jennifer Queally said to the media. “You are a danger to everyone on the road, including your loved ones and mine.” Queally, Cannabis Control Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan, law enforcement officers, transportation officials and businesses launched a statewide media campaign to encourage anyone legally using marijuana or alcohol to hail a cab, use a ride-for-hire service or take public transit instead of driving.
“If you are using marijuana legally, all we ask is that you use an alternate means of transportation,” State Police Maj. Richard Ball said. Though marijuana was a focus of Wednesday’s press conference to launch the statewide PSA, Queally said the message is not exclusive to cannabis. “Impaired is impaired is impaired,” she said. Though Massachusetts has not yet opened non-medical marijuana stores, it has been legal for adults to grow and use marijuana since December 2016.
In late June, the Department of Public Health said about 21 percent of adults in Massachusetts reported using marijuana in the last 30 days and a third of users said they have driven under the influence of marijuana in the last 30 days.