WYOMING – The Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving (GCID) is sponsoring the “New” DUI, a public awareness campaign that will spread the message that driving under the influence of marijuana and some prescription drugs is dangerous, detectable and consequential.
According to the 2016 Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police (WASCOP) Executive Summary of Alcohol and Crime in Wyoming, the number of alcohol-involved arrests have decreased since 2010, but the number and percentage of other drug-involved arrests have increased over that time frame.
A separate study conducted by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center, released in June of 2018, found that many Wyoming residents do not equate drugged driving with drunk driving, because they don’t believe that law enforcement is able to detect marijuana or prescription drugs, nor do they believe that these substances impair driving as significantly as alcohol.
Rich Adriaens, GCID Co-Chair and Sheridan Chief of Police, said, “Everyone knows what can happen when you drink and drive, but a lot of people in Wyoming don’t know what can happen when you drive under the influence of marijuana and prescription drugs. It’s having an impact on our fatal and injury crashes. Drugged driving is just dangerous as drunk driving, so they come with identical legal consequences. There’s a lack of awareness.”
The “New” DUI campaign was created in response to this lack of awareness. It will be advertised across Wyoming via cinemas, radio, digital ads and social media over the next year. A campaign website known as TheNewDUI.org is also being utilized.
“A drugged driving DUI isn’t new to law enforcement, but it is new to the public. For years now, we’ve been preparing and training our folks to recognize what marijuana and opioids look like behind the wheel with advanced roadside testing techniques, so if you’re driving under the influence of anything, we’ll know. This campaign just makes the parallels between these substances easy to understand,” Adriaens said.
The GCID worked with WASCOP on the campaign, using funding provided through the Wyoming Department of Health. The campaign materials were produced by Adbay, a Casper-based marketing firm.
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