Washington State Patrol Puts More Emphasis on High Drivers

Since the legalization of marijuana, Washington State Patrol troopers are finding themselves screening drives for signs of drug impairment.  Although they have always looked for signs of drug impairment as part of their road patrols, they’ve become more in tune with drives who appear to be driving high.

The holiday season can bring an increased number of DUI arrests, said State Patrol Sgt. Grant Clark, because people are either using substances to celebrate or they’re particularly lonely this time of year.  As a supervisor, he has to sign off on warrants for drug tests if someone refuses to voluntarily submit to a blood draw.

From now until the new year, extra law enforcement will be on the roadways in search of impaired drivers as part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.  The effort is supplemented by the slogan “Drive High, Get a DUI,” a campaign that launched shortly before marijuana retail stores opened.

Arresting someone on suspicion of driving under the influence starts with a driving vacation, said Trooper Will Finn.  Someone has to be speeding or weaving or otherwise driving erratically to get pulled over.

Alcohol and marijuana, both depressants, have similar signs of impairment.  A driver who is drunk or high on marijuana may weave down the road and cross over dividing lines.  A person driving on meth, a stimulant, will exhibit much more erratic driving behaviors.

“We’re adapting as time goes on.  We were doing it before, but it might not have been as pronounced,” Finn said.

If you or someone you know has been stopped, questioned, or arrested for driving under the influence, the first call you should make is to a qualified DUI defense attorneyWe are available 24/7 on our on-call attorney line at (253) 217-4849