Impaired Driving Leads to Risks Behind the Wheel

Local News Stories

The normalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use is causing concern as drivers continue to get behind the wheel impaired.

17 states and Washington DC have legalized marijuana for recreational use, 19 states including Ohio have legalized the drug for medical use and 15 states are considering medical or adult use legislation this year.

There’s concern this could lead to an increase of people getting behind the wheel impaired.

“When you look at crash data in general 6 of the last seven years we’ve seen an increase in fatalities on our roadways,” explained Senior Manager Public Affairs Kimberly Schwind. “It’s something we need to focus on because impaired driving is one of the major contributing factors to the rise in fatalities on Ohio roadways.”

According to the Triple A Foundation for Traffic Safety those that use marijuana or alcohol and get behind the wheel become more dangerous drivers.

They’re more likely to speed, text, intentionally run red lights and drive aggressively than those who don’t.

“While it’s affects are different for individuals several studies have concluded that marijuana’s use impairs your ability to drive safely. Research also shows those that drive high greatly increase their risk of crash.” said Schwind.

Last year on Ohio roads the Ohio State Highway Patrol said they recorded an 11 percent increase in crashes involving both alcohol and drugs.

Nichole Hannahs
Nichole is WHIZ’s News Director/Anchor. She joined the WHIZ family while attending high school at Bishop Rosecrans, before taking a full-time position in 2005. Nichole is no stranger to the area. She grew up in Corning, Ohio and and graduated from Waynesburg College, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications emphasizing in Sports Broadcasting/Sports Information and Journalism.When not at work Nichole enjoys watching St. Louis Blues hockey, enjoying time with family, spending time outdoors and reading.If Nichole wasn't in broadcasting she'd probably have become a teacher.Nichole is married to a fellow sports fan Brandon. They have two sons Cameron and Xavier.