Law enforcement officers looking for impaired drivers

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More law enforcement officers will be out this holiday weekend looking for impaired drivers.

"There's really no excuse if you're driving impaired. You're a danger and you need to be removed from the roadway," said Deputy Mark Smith, Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office.

Beginning today and through the weekend, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office will join other Law Enforcement agencies in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma to stop impaired driving.  

They say this has been an increasing epidemic for the past several years.

“Even one death is unacceptable.  Please don't drive while impaired, slow down, put the phone away or turn it off, and always buckle up," said Sheriff Jeff Easter in a news release.

According to a 2016 AAA poll in Kansas, only 63 percent of people consider driving after using marijuana ‘a very serious threat’ to their personal safety. 

In 2017, there were 287 crashes attributed to illegal drug use in Kansas.  Eighty-three persons lost their lives in these crashes.

“There's a misconception that marijuana doesn't affect your ability to drive,” said Chris Bortz, Traffic Safety Program Manager for the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). “That is just false. Illegal drugs can impair a person's judgment, concentration and reaction time. Driving under the influence of any impairing substance is illegal for a reason.”

There will be increased traffic enforcement and police visibility across the state to crack down on drugged driving. This enforcement will run from April 19 to 21, where 420 (April 20th) is largely recognized for its social attention on marijuana.

Wichita police to conduct DUI checkpoint this weekend