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Federal agency launches ad campaign against drugged driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA has launched a nationwide ad campaign against drugged driving that is scheduled to run through Labor Day.

The "Drive High, get a DUI" campaign aims to educate drivers about the possible consequences of drugged driving, consequences that include basically the same criminal penalties that drunk driver would face.

The campaign comes in the wake of statistics which show that drugged driving seems to be a growing problem both in the Tampa, Florida, area and throughout the rest of the country. As an example, in 2016, almost 45 percent of those drivers who died in accidents had some sort of drug in their system; in 2006, the number was 28 percent.

Police have had their hands full dealing with the fallout from drugged driving, particularly since several states now allow the legal use of marijuana in some circumstances, and a growing number are allowing it in all circumstances.

Moreover, training officers how to spot drugged driving is not as streamlined of a process as training officers how to recognize a drunk driver, and the signs and symptoms of drugged driving are slightly different than when a driver has been drinking alcohol.

Even standardized drug tests are not as helpful, as many drugs, including marijuana, get detected in one's system days or even weeks after the effects of the drug have worn off.

Still, the reality is that drugged driving, like drunk driving, can lead to a major car accident that results in serious injuries to a motorist. A driver who chooses to drive while high, in addition to criminal penalties, can and should be held financially accountable to compensate the victims of the accident for their losses.

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