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AAA Distributes Grants totaling over $100,000 to Combat Marijuana Impaired Driving

Driving high on marijuana is dangerous and illegal

AURORA, Ill., (August 19, 2020) – In an effort to reduce the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by marijuana impaired driving AAA – The Auto Club Group is providing more than $100,000 in grants to assist public health, safety and law enforcement partners in addressing this issue.

As the nation's foremost proponent of traffic safety, AAA has long been committed to reducing the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by impaired driving. Recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois on January 1, 2020 and since the onset of the pandemic, marijuana sales in Illinois have steadily increased.

"Marijuana use can inhibit concentration, slow reaction times and cloud judgment." said Nick Jarmusz, Director of Public Affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. "These grants will help increase awareness of this danger and identify impaired drivers on the road."

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that, compared to alcohol, drivers were less likely to view driving within an hour of using marijuana as dangerous and less likely to think that a driver who did so would be caught by police.

The grant recipients include over 40 law enforcement agencies and non-profit organizations in an effort to educate, assist and reduce the number of crashes related to driving under the influence of marijuana. These grants included monies for:

Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement

ARIDE teaches officers how to identify and articulate the signs of impairment related to drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both, in order to reduce the number of impaired driving incidents as well as crashes which result in serious injuries and fatalities.

ToxOptix X3

This is a tool for law enforcement and is a pen containing a UV lamp, medical penlight and a timing system in one device for standardized field sobriety testing. It's also designed for other important investigative needs such as validating driver licenses or identifying drug residue.

Fatal Vision Marijuana Goggles

These goggles model the effects of recreational marijuana so you can experience the impact of what it's like to be under the influence. Marijuana affects the brain differently than alcohol, and the goggles simulate marijuana's true effects — they diminish the participant's capacity to make quick, accurate decisions, and that causes a driver to miss important external cues that could lead to a crash. The kits will be brought to high schools and community events as a way to educate people about the effects marijuana impaired driving (this will be done when possible due to COVID-19 restrictions).

"We appreciate the grant from AAA supporting our roadway safety efforts," said Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly. "Substance-impaired driving is an issue of traffic-safety concern nationwide and right here in Illinois. The Field Vision Goggle kits helps show drivers the dangers of getting behind the wheel after using cannabis."

Additionally, monies for a K9 ballistic vest were given to keep a law enforcement canine safe from harm while in the line of duty.

Full list of grant recipients:

Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists Organization

Chicago Police Memorial Foundation

Child Care Resource & Referral Network/Illinois Department of Transportation

DuPage County Prevention Leadership Team

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police

Illinois State Police

Illinois Liquor Control Commission

DuPage County Sheriff's Office

Kane County Sheriff's Office

Lake County Sheriff's Office

Tazewell County Sheriff's Office

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement – Chicago Metropolitan Chapter

Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Rush Copley Hospital

ThinkFirst Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Addison Police Department

Arlington Heights Police Department

Aurora Police Department

Bloomington Police Department

Campton Hills Police Department

Chatham Police Department

Chenoa Police Department

Crystal Lake Police Department

Deerfield Police Department

Elgin Police Department

Evanston Police Department

Glen Ellyn Police Department

Gurnee Police Department

Lake Zurich Police Department

Lincolnwood Police Department

Lockport Police Department

Maywood Police Department

Mendota Police Department

Minooka Police Department

Moline Police Department

Naperville Police Department

Niles Police Department

Oswego Police Department

Riverside Police Department

Rockford Police Department

Rockton Police Department

Roscoe Police Department

Tinley Park Police Department

Wheaton Police Department

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