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Monday begins "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 06:24:40-04

LANSING, Mich. — For the next two weeks, you'll see more Michigan State Police Troopers on the roads looking for impaired drivers.

Monday begins the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, however police aren't just looking for those who are drinking and driving.

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan, police are also looking for drugged drivers.

FOX 47 News's Kylie Khan got a change to try out a pair of goggles that police say stimulate what it's like to drive while high.

State police are warning that this Fourth of July you could be seeing lights of a different kind if you drive impaired.

"We're just going to be stepping up our patrols anywhere between the cities to the freeways just to help reduce some of the traffic-related crashes and deaths," Trooper Travis Fletcher, of the Michigan State Police, said.

Even though recreational marijuana is now legal in Michigan, it's still illegal to drive while high.

But unlike alcohol, police don't have a way to measure how much of the substance is in a driver's system.

"We still will do the traditional field sobriety tests so walking the straight line. A lot of times when we're doing the SFST's, we're looking for the horizontal gaze nystagmus, we call it HGN, and then the standard one-leg stand," Fletcher said.

Trooper Fletcher said there are tell-tale signs of an impaired driver, whether its drugs or alcohol.

"Not being able to maintain a specific lane that they're in or maybe speeds. So as far as what we're looking for a lot of it's the same," Fletcher said.

Many people have heard of "drunk goggles," but now state police have a pair that simulate what it's like to drive drugged.

"A lot of times when you're under the influence of whether it be alcohol or some kind of controlled substance, a lot of times your vision is impaired to some effect so that's essentially what the goggles are supposed to do," Fletcher said.

A recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows nearly 15 million drivers admitting to getting behind the wheel within an hour of using marijuana, and as many as 70% of drivers don't think they'll get caught driving while high.

"If you are going to be drinking or have some sort of substance in your body, make sure you have alternate plans to get home safely," Fletcher said.

Police say last fourth of July holiday there were six crashes that caused seven deaths.

The drive sober or get pulled over campaign runs until July 14.

Those caught driving under the influence of drugs could face penalties similar to drunk driving. That includes being fined, having your license suspended or even spending time in jail.

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