The Ford County Sheriff's Office will join other law enforcement agencies in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma to stop what has been an increasing epidemic for the past several years.

In an effort to change this trend, beginning April 19 through April 20, law enforcement across the six-state area will be extra vigilant while patrolling city, state and federal roadways.

According to Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr, deaths and injuries tied to alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers continue to increase.

"Regardless whether a drug is legal or illegal, it's a serious crime to drive while impaired by any drug," Carr said in a news release. "We can no longer share our roadways with these drugged impaired drivers; impaired driving is not a victimless crime."

In an effort to remove the potential dangers, all available Drug Recognition Expert and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driver Enforcement Officers will be out in force, Carr added.

"Officers will issue citations to any individual who refuses to obey the traffic laws, whether it is for driving while impaired, for speeding, texting, or failing to buckle up," Carr said.

A search warrant may be obtained for an individual's blood if they are a suspected violator who refuses to submit to a blood test.

"Why 4/20 as a date to draw attention to drugged driving epidemic? Simple," Carr said. "It's the day where people on 4/20 at 4:20 p.m. light up their drugs as a celebration."

According to the Journal of American Medicine Association, there has been a 12 percent increase in the relative risk of a fatal crash compared to identical time intervals on control days at 4:20 p.m. April 20 over the past 25 years.

"Even one death is unacceptable," Carr said. "Please don't drive while impaired, slow down, put the phone away or turn it off, and always buckle up."

 

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