Traffic Safety Officials, Cannabis Advocate and Lyft Combat Driving Drunk or High

Traffic safety officials from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), and longtime marijuana activist and Hempfest promoter Vivian McPeak urge holiday revelers to “plan before you party.”  This surprising alliance is working together to reduce the growing number of fatalities from drivers impaired by both alcohol and cannabis, or other drugs.  As an inducement, the team was distributing free $20 Lyft ride certificates at prominent cannabis retailers in Spokane and Seattle.

McPeak and WTSC are also taking to the airwaves with the Plan Before you Party message. They released a joint public service announcement in December targeting people who consume alcohol and cannabis or other drugs. View the PSA here.

“Driving drunk or high is dangerous,” said McPeak.  “It will increase your chances of being in a crash.  If you plan to party, party with a plan that you make ahead of time.  Plan on using Lyft or another form of transportation, or stay put until you’re sober.”

McPeak and officials from the WTSC distributed Lyft vouchers worth $20 to patrons of Uncle Ike’s in Seattle and Piece of Mind, a marijuana retailer in Spokane.

Lyft and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association awarded a $20,000 grant to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to fund this effort including $10,000 worth of Lyft rides to be distributed in Seattle and Spokane and on social media.

Shelly Baldwin, WTSC spokesperson, said, “Alcohol and drug impaired driving is the leading contributing factor in Washington fatal crashes. But we don’t have to accept that.  Make decisions about how you will get home safely before you party.  And if you see someone about to drive impaired, help them find a safe ride. We all have a role in keeping our roads safe.”

WTSC research shows that since 2012, the number of poly-drug drivers (under the influence of a combinations of alcohol and drugs) involved in fatal crashes has increased an average of 15 percent per year.  Alcohol and cannabis are the most common poly-drug combination. Despite the increase, most Washingtonians believe it is unacceptable to drive within two hours of using either substance and most people never do.

“Lyft believes highway safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Lyft Spokesperson and Northwestern GM Todd Kelsay.  We’re proud to join with WTSC and Vivian McPeak to encourage passengers to choose a smart ride option like Lyft. That way passengers can enjoy a night out and not have to worry about how they’re getting home.”

More than 150 law enforcement agencies around the state are beginning extra DUI patrols today and through the holidays. Participating law enforcement agencies in King County include:

Algona Police Department
Auburn Police Department
Bellevue Police Department
Black Diamond Police Department
Burien Police Department
Covington Police Department
Enumclaw Police Department
Federal Way Police Department
Issaquah Police Department
Kenmore Police Department
Kent Police Department
Kirkland Police Department
Lake Forest Park Police Department
Maple Valley Police Department
Mercer Island Police Department
Newcastle Police Department
Normandy Park Police Department
Pacific Police Department
Port of Seattle Police Department
Redmond Police Department
Sammamish Police Department
SeaTac Police Department
Seattle Police Department
Shoreline Police Department
Snoqualmie Police Department
Tukwila Police Department
Washington State Liquor Control Board
Washington State Patrol

“There’s no need to ever face a DUI arrest or to put yourself and others in danger,” said McPeak. “You can have fun and be responsible and safe.  Make a plan.”

Additional Resources:

Marijuana Use, Alcohol Use, and Driving in Washington State: Emerging Issues with Poly-Drug Use on Washington Roadways

News Release:  Intervening to Prevent Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis and Alcohol is Part of Washington’s Traffic Safety Culture

Impairment Traffic Safety Programs