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Lessons From a Tanzanian Cheetah – Don’t Drive High

Big Cat Warning

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is part of the United States Department of Transportation, has produced a new safety campaign that features an exotic animal –  not a Rosemont Wolverine, but a Tanzanian Cheetah.  Apparently, the Tanzanian Cheetah is known for its agility and not for its common sense.  In the video, for some reason, this particular breed of big cat becomes an example to humanity as it drives a car, smokes a joint, gets arrested, sits in jail, and is assessed a tidy sum of “cheetah dollars” for its transgression.  The message of the campaign is “Don’t Drive High.”  

Watch the NHTSA video Spotted – Driving High

A Message Directed at Bored Teens

While Rosemont High School, home of the Wolverines, like many area schools, is starting the fall semester with 100% distance learning, that does not mean that public safety campaigns such as this one are any less necessary.  In fact, they may be needed now more than ever.  Teenagers will have plenty of idle time on their hands, and with the absence of school sports, probably even more free time than usual. With fewer social outlets, teens may turn to intoxicating substances to fend off boredom.  

Be Safe Every Weekend

The campaign specifically mentions Labor Day weekend but stresses that viewers should keep in mind every day that driving with a drug-induced impairment is not only dangerous but illegal.  Marijuana use negatively affects brain functions such as reaction time and motor coordination, two cognitive skills necessary for safe driving.  The negligent cheetah seeks to remind youthful drivers that driving while impaired not only puts yourself in danger, but other people on the road, and your passengers as well.  

Fast Facts About Marijuana

  • The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, impairs cognitive performance and slows reaction times, which makes it more difficult to maintain a steady lane position and react to sudden lane changes or unexpected obstacles in the roadway.  
  • Rumors that marijuana use does not impair drivers, or that it actually makes drivers safer, are contradicted by results from many scientific studies.
  • The presence of marijuana in the toxicology reports of drivers killed in automobile accidents nearly doubled from 2008 to 2017.

Don’t Drive High – Plan in Advance for a Safe Ride Home

The cheetah campaign wants young drivers to remember that if they feel any different, they will drive differently.  The NHTSA recommends having a plan before going out for the evening.  If you are going to a party or other social event, make plans ahead of time for a sober and safe ride home.  If you are the party host, make sure your guests stay overnight or have a safe ride.  

If you ingested or smoked any impairing substance, absolutely do not get behind the wheel.  If you see someone else who is impaired, do what you can to stop them from driving. 

The specific terms used for impairment do not matter – stoned, high, lit, a little buzzed – all indicate some level of cognitive impairment, and all will result in your being arrested for DUI if you are pulled over in such a state.  If you drive high, you will get a DUI.

Lastly, the NHTSA wants you to call  911 if you witness impaired driving and to always buckle up as that is your best defense against other impaired drivers.  

Rosemont Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Rosemont, California. If you have been injured in a car crash with an impaired driver, call my office for free and friendly advice. Our local number is (916) 921-6400.  We also offer a toll-free phone number if you are calling from outside the Rosemont area: (800) 404-5400.

For nearly 40 years, I have worked on behalf of injured Rosemont residents. 

The following links will take you to reviews from prior clients and a collection of our past case successes:

Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/photos/cheetah-big-cat-wild-cat-nature-425468/

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