CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — The WV Governor’s Highway Safety Program is partnering up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and West Virginia law enforcement agencies for their annual campaign, If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI!

Starting August 17 2022, to September 5, 2022, law enforcement agencies across West Virginia will be aggressively displaying this message aimed at protecting the lives of the natives in their communities when it comes to impaired driving.

It doesn’t matter if you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol, make a good decision and don’t put yourself or other West Virginia road users at risk. It’s not worth it. Never drive impaired.

WV Governor Jim Justice (R-WV)

By law, it is illegal to drive while impaired by any substance. This includes illegal drugs, alcohol, or certain prescription medications.

“Enforcing our impaired driving laws is just one of the many ways law enforcement officers keep West Virginians safe. Regardless of what the substance is, if it affects your ability to safely operate your vehicle, you should not be driving,” said Governor Highway Safety Program Director Bob Tipton.

Since 2013, West Virginia has been a Drug Evaluation Classification state due to the opioid epidemic affecting the Mountain State. Law enforcement officers have the opportunity to become a Drug Recognition Expert as well.

Officers in this class are specially trained to conduct detailed evaluations of individuals who are suspected of being under the influence, which included impaired driving. Drug Recognition Experts are a significant part of keeping drugged drivers off West Virginia’s roadways, which could lead to a DUI or jail time.

Tipton added, “Driving impaired is a choice, and it’s a bad and potentially deadly choice. Some of the consequences of impaired driving include being in a crash, injuring or killing yourself or someone else, or being issued a citation. If you’ve used an impairing substance, make the right choice and find a sober ride home. Keep yourself and those in your community safe.”

The following are safety tips that can easily be remembered to spread the awareness to friends and family:

  • It is illegal to drive while impaired by any substance, whether illegal or prescribed. If you have used an impairing substance such as marijuana or certain prescription medications, do not drive. Passengers should never ride with an impaired driver. If you think a driver may be impaired, do not get in the car.
  • If you have used an impairing substance, get a sober driver to safely drive you to your destination. Like drunk driving, it is essential that drug-impaired drivers refrain from driving a vehicle. It is never okay to drive while impaired by any substance.
  • If available, use your community’s sober ride program.
  • Do you have a friend who is about to drive while impaired by drugs? Take the keys away and arrange to get them home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone, they’ll thank you later.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.

If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Please share this important message.

For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit highwaysafety.wv.gov or call 304-926-2509. Or visit their website, www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drug-impaired-driving.