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New awareness campaign targets drugged drivers

Drug-impaired driving is increasing in New Jersey and across the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a result, the agency is launching a new campaign to raise awareness about the issue. The initiative will run through Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 3 this year.

The new campaign is similar to drunk driving initiatives like the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. The taglines for the drug-impaired initiative are "If You Feel Different, You Drive Different" and "If You Drive High, You Get a DUI".

According to federal data, around 42 percent of fatally-injured drivers who are screened for drugs test positive for marijuana or other impairing drugs. While New Jersey has yet to legalize marijuana, there are concerns such a move could spark an increase in drug-impaired accidents. Currently, nearly a third of all traffic deaths in the state are linked to alcohol consumption.

During the drug-impaired driving campaign, law enforcement officers will target potentially impaired drivers on area highways. The campaign is also encouraging the public to report drivers who appear to be driving erratically. Individuals who are arrested for drunk or drugged driving might help their situation by invoking their right to remain silent and contacting a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorney could review the case to see if police overstepped their authority during the arrest, which could cause a judge to dismiss the case. The attorney could also challenge the accuracy of any toxicology tests that were administered and work to poke holes in the prosecution's case. Even if the evidence is solid, legal counsel could negotiate a plea bargain that reduces the charges.

Source: New Jersey 101.5, "'If you drive high, you get DUI' -- new traffic campaign in NJ", Jen Ursillo, Aug. 19, 2018

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