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Connecticut Department of Transportation Issues a Reminder as Retail Cannabis Sales Begin: Driving High Equals a DUI

Drug Impaired Driving is Illegal and Deadly

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Highway Safety Office is joining State and local law enforcement to remind the public about the dangers of driving high. Driving while impaired by any substance, legal or illegal, is deadly.


In early December, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection announced that adult-use cannabis sales would begin on January 10, 2023, at 10 a.m.


“Driving while drug-impaired is illegal and deadly,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti. “Remember: you can get a DUI for more than just alcohol. If you feel different, you will drive differently. If you drive high, you will get a DUI.”


Connecticut's drugged driving law does not depend on a specific level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance most responsible for marijuana’s effects, in a driver's blood. Connecticut law states that a person operating a vehicle commits the crime of DUI “while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both.”


While it is legal to possess cannabis and transport it in a vehicle’s locked glovebox or trunk, it is essential to remember that operating a motor vehicle under the influence of cannabis is illegal and carries with it the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug. A police officer can test an operator based on the odor of cannabis if, at the time, they reasonably suspect the operator is under the influence of the same.


“Cannabis can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane,” added Commissioner Giulietti. 


CTDOT asks the public to remember these safety tips and spread the message to friends, family, and colleagues:


  • If you have used an impairing substance such as cannabis, do not drive. Passengers should never ride with an impaired driver. Do not get in the car if you think a driver may be impaired.
  • If you are planning to use drugs, arrange for a sober driver to drive you safely to your destination. Like drunk driving, drug-impaired drivers must refrain from driving a vehicle. It is never okay to drive while impaired by any substance.
  • Even over-the-counter and prescription medications can have impairing effects. Take caution before driving after using any medication.
  • If 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 law enforcement by dialing 9-1-1 when it is safe to do so.

For more information, visit nhtsa.gov.


Twitter: @CTDOTOfficial
Facebook: Connecticut Department of Transportation


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