Riding High: How big a problem is marijuana-impaired driving in Florida?

8 On Your Side
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For years, law enforcement has aggressively pursued drunk drivers on our roads. As those numbers decrease, the number of drugged drivers, crashes and fatalities continues to increase across the state.

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, alcohol-confirmed fatalities significantly decreased in a span of three years. In 2015, 508 people were killed. The number of lives lost two years later dropped to 374.

Meanwhile, drug-confirmed fatalities rose from 281 to 338 during the same time period in Florida.

“The Tampa Bay area has always been number one when it comes to serious injuries and deaths related to impaired driving,” said Larry Coggins, the executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Coggins’ organization is not just concerned about drunk driving. He says they’ve moved to all impairment.

“If it is in the body, whether it’s legally or illegally, don’t get behind the wheel of a car,” he said.

8 On Your Side is investigating marijuana-impaired driving in Florida as smokable medical cannabis is being rolled out across the state. This after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation repealing the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana in March.

Watch Mahsa Saeidi’s full Riding High report Thursday at 6 p.m. on News Channel 8.

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