For Release: April 16, 2018
Oklahoma Law Enforcement Takes Action to End Drug-Impaired Driving in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office joins six other states in the region to put a stop to what has become an increasing epidemic; drug-impaired driving. Starting at midnight on April 20, law enforcement agencies from across Oklahoma will join Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Missouri law enforcement increase patrols, conduct checkpoints, and raise awareness of the impacts of drug-impaired driving. The campaign will run for 42-hours and will focus on getting DUI drivers off Oklahoma roadways.
Why April 20? According to Time Magazine, the date 4/20 became associated with marijuana use in the early 1970s with a group of teenagers from northern California. The trend was picked up by several bands and became mainstream in the early 1990s. Traditionally, marijuana users will smoke the drug at 4:20 pm on April 20 to celebrate the day and time. This is why the enhanced enforcement campaign is kicking off on April 20 and running for 42 hours. The ultimate goal is to keep drug-impaired drivers off the roads.
In 2014, 63 people died in drug-related crashes. In 2016, 134 people were killed in drug-related crashes in the state of Oklahoma.1 These numbers reflect an almost 115 percent increase in the number of people killed by drivers who may be under the influence of drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes after 4:20 pm on April 20 is higher compared to the same times on days one week earlier and one week later. The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office aims to put a stop to this alarming trend by supporting this enhanced enforcement campaign.
“Oklahoma is participating in this regional campaign to help curb the rise of drug-impaired drivers and crashes,” said Paul Harris, director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. “The numbers don’t lie, fatality crashes are on the rise in Oklahoma. Through this enhanced enforcement campaign, we are hoping to keep drug-impaired drivers off the roads and save some lives.”
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office has reached out to law enforcement agencies across the state in an effort to recruit them to join this campaign. Activities across the state will include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, public awareness campaigns and other enforcement-related activities.
A press conference to kick off the “END420DUI” campaign will be held at Pops in Arcadia on Thursday, April 19th at 1pm. Representatives from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and other partner agencies will be in attendance. The media is invited to join us to ask questions, interview the experts, and get footage to help spread the word about this campaign. More details, including a list of participating agencies, will be sent as a media advisory prior to the press event.
Thank you for not driving under the influence of any drug – alcohol or marijuana. Together, we can ENDUI in Oklahoma.
For more information about this campaign, please visit ohso.ok.gov/end420dui-oklahoma-information.
Media inquiries about this release or any other information concerning highway safety can be directed to Cody McDonell, Communications Manager for the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office at Cody.McDonell@dps.ok.gov or by calling (405) 479-7637.
1Drug-related crashes are those where at least one driver has tested positive for any amount of drugs, or where a law enforcement officer suspected that a driver might be under the influence of either illegal drugs or medication. These numbers include prescription medication and other drugs that may or may not cause impairment.