State Police warn drivers about dangers of drugged driving

    State Police say drugged driving responsible for hundreds of crashes in 2018.

    DETROIT, Mich - The Michigan State Police report 174 drivers tested positive for cannabinoid drug use were involved in 169 motor vehicle crashes.

    Of those crashes, 131 were classified as fatal, resulting in 144 fatalities. An additional 156 persons were injured.

    State Police cite several studies on it's website that marijuana and alcohol are major factors in crashes throughout the state.

    The change in Michigan law brings with it a lot of questions in regards to enforcement.

    It’s not an open book where anyone can smoke marijuana like they drink a soda, there are a lot of restrictions with this new law,” he said.

    Especially when behind the wheel.

    Lt. David Kaiser says if state police pull you over and smell marijuana, they won't search your car.

    Contrary to what the law used to be, a person 21-years-of -age or older is allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of pot.

    But beware, if a driver is under the influence of marijuana there will be consequences.

    “If it impairs your function to operate a motor vehicle, just like it was before this new law, you will be arrested and charged with operating while you’re intoxicated,” Lt. Kaiser stated.

    And state police say they'll take the same enforcement approach as someone who's had too much to drink.

    “You may have the slowed, slurred speech, we’re stopping you for something other than a speeding violation or a taillight or a headlight out, we’re stopping you for weaving all over the lane,” he said.

    But don't be mistaken. It doesn't mean Michigan State Police will be cracking down on the roads any more than they usually would.

    “It’s not a whole lot different than it was yesterday or today, the only thing is tomorrow when we stop a vehicle, if we smell marijuana, we’re not going to search your vehicle,” said Lt. Kaiser.

    Michigan State Police also want to point out that this law does not allow a person to smoke marijuana in a public place.

    A person 21-years-of-age or older can only consume and possess it, as long as they are not intoxicated while behind the wheel.

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