Driving while impaired whether it’s alcohol, cannabis or any other intoxicating substance is a big no-no. Obviously.
On this April 20 — the unofficial international holiday for marijuana lovers — the Colorado Department of Transportation and riding sharing company Lyft will be offering free and discounted rides all week. But instead of merely giving away coupons, potential passengers will have to do a little work in exchange for the ride.
According to a CDOT press release, miniature “Mile 420” signs will be hidden at major marijuana-related events, each with a promo code that can redeem $42 worth of ride credit. The “Mile 420” hunt is part of the agency’s Drive High, Get a DUI campaign to reduce the number of drug-related DUIs, traffic crashes and fatalities.
In addition to the 420 mile markers, CDOT and Lyft will have street teams at 420 events to educate about safe rides. CDOT will also display a giant, 3D candy bar display, created to highlight the dangers of driving after consuming edibles—which can take up to two hours to affect the user.
The giant chocolate edible is designed to look like a crashed car, and measures 14 feet long and 4 feet high. On the front, the safety message is “Plan a Ride Before You Bite It.” On the back, where nutrition facts would typically be found, are statistics on the dangers of driving high—including that 55 percent of marijuana users believe it is safe to drive under the influence of marijuana.
While intoxicated driving is a serious issue, the CDOT decided the best way to educate motorists is with this public campaign.
Interestingly enough, the Colorado State Patrol on Monday, issued a reported showing that the number of citations for driving while under the influence of marijuana dropped by 33 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year.
From January to March of 2017, 155 people were cited for marijuana-use-only impairment while driving, compared to 232 cited from January to March of 2016. The number of citations noting combined alcohol and marijuana use also dipped. There were 50 such citations in 2017 compared with 69 in the first three months of 2016.
Related Story: Inside Colorado’s New Campaign For Safe Marijuana Use
“This is a big week for cannabis users in Colorado, and we want to make sure everyone plans ahead and stays safe,” said CDOT Safety Communications Manager Sam Cole. “The bottom line is that driving high is dangerous and illegal, and any amount of impairment puts you at risk for a DUI.”
In March, CDOT and Lyft launched the 320 Movement, a proactive program that aims to change the way people think about driving high—to always plan a safe, sober ride, just as they would when drinking. On March 20, Lyft unleashed a fleet of 17 vehicles wrapped with green “Plan a ride before you’re high” messaging across metro Denver.
“We know that Lyft passengers are great about planning ahead when it comes to alcohol consumption, with almost 90 percent of Lyft users recently surveyed saying that they use the service to avoid driving under the influence,” said Gabe Cohen, Denver general manager for Lyft. “Lyft is proud to join with CDOT in promoting this same, safety-first message when it comes to cannabis consumption.”
In response to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, CDOT launched Drive High, Get a DUI in 2014—a public outreach and education campaign to raise awareness about the dangers and laws surrounding driving while under the influence of cannabis. For more information, visit the CDOT website.