Chattanooga, Tenn. (WDEF) – We just observed the first major holiday of the summer season..and as usual there were traffic fatalities.
Law Enforcement agencies, especially the Tennessee Highway patrol, warn motorists before every holiday about the dangers of drinking and driving—it’s a major problem.
But what about doing drugs and driving?
Memorial day is usually more tame that some other holidays, like July 4th or Labor Day, but there were plenty of impaired drivers on the road.
Starting on Friday, 42 people were arrested for either driving under the influence or being intoxicated in public.
But during that same period, 37 local residents were found to be under the influence of drugs–or trying to sell them.
Can drugs be just as much of a driving hazard as alcohol?
LT. JOHN HARMON, THP “We’re finding drivers that are under the influence of prescription medication , and non prescription medication..along with illegal drugs.”
In fact, THP officers are getting extra training in how to spot drug users and dealers.
LT. HARMON “We have troopers who are drug recognition experts …so they can actually tell when a driver may not be under the influence of alcohol but is under the influence of a narcotic or prescription medication.”
The TBI says It may become more common on the road to see individuals impaired under the influence of marijuana, which could be dangerous not only for the driver, but everybody on the road.
That fact clashes with efforts to legalize marijuana in many states.
In Hamilton county, Sheriff’s deputies and local police agencies also dealt with DUI’s and drug users over the weekend.
Captain Charles Lowery says they both lead to impairment.
CAPT. CHARLES LOWERY, HAMILTON CO. SHERIFF’S DEPT. “Texting is dangerous , alcohol is dangerous , drugs are dangerous ….anything that will take away your focus of operating a motor vehicle in a safe manner is dangerous.”
The TBI warns that the combination of driving while under the influence of marijuana mixed with alcohol is heightening your risk.
There was one bright spot in all those arrest numbers from last weekend—only one person was arrested for boating under the influence in Hamilton county.