News, Police/Fire

Grant to help Lynn police get impaired drivers off the road

LYNN — Lynn Police will increase the number of impaired driving patrols on local roads.

The department is joining forces with more than 200 police departments across the state and the State Police in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign.

This year’s campaign will include a focus on the impairment marijuana causes in drivers — and the increased impairment caused when alcohol and marijuana are combined. The program is funded in part by a special grant from the Highway Safety Division of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

“There is clear evidence that drivers who have used marijuana, especially in combination with alcohol, are significantly impaired,” said Jeff Larason, director of the Highway Safety Division. “We are urging motorists to plan ahead for a sober ride home by using public transportation, a ride-sharing service or a designated driver. Do not put yourself and each person in the car and on the road with you at risk.”

Marijuana or marijuana-type drugs were the most prevalent types of drugs found in people killed in crashes from 2010 to 2014, according to Lynn Police Lt. Michael Kmiec. Of note, 77 percent of impaired drivers in fatal crashes were men, and 46 percent of all alcohol-related driver fatalities were ages 21 to 34 during that time period. And alcohol impaired driving fatalities increased 14 percent (125 to 143) from 2013-2014.

Kmiec said national statistics reinforces state findings: The federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System reported that drugs were present in 40 percent of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result, almost the same level as alcohol.

Roadside surveys in 2013 and 2014 found drugs in 22 percent of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekdays.

Drivers using marijuana demonstrated decreased car handling performance, increased reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, sleepiness and decreased motor skill coordination.

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