SAN MATEO (KCBS) – Cases of people driving with drugs in their system are on the rise in California, and state traffic safety officials said they are especially concerned about those who use marijuana, then get behind the wheel.
In the Bay Area, there have been two recent examples.
A wrong-way driver crashed on the Bay Bridge on the night of November 8, causing major traffic backups on the span. 32-year-old Karrie Lyn Morgan of Vacaville was injured along with three other people.
The California Highway Patrol said she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs while causing injury to another and driving without a license.
In San Mateo, a 21-year-old woman is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence in connection with a fatal incident on the afternoon of November 14.
Authorities said Sonia Toor reportedly lined up for the drive-through window at the Walgreens at 191 East Third Ave. when she changed her mind and backed out of the line, striking 84-year-old Nina Falk, who succumbed to her injuries the next day. Toor is believed to have been under the influence of marijuana and possibly other drugs at the time of the collision.
“14 percent of drivers on the road on a Friday or Saturday night have something in their system that could impair them, either alcohol or drugs or marijuana,” said Chris Cochran with the California Office of Traffic Safety. “In fact the biggest percentage, about 7.5 percent, is marijuana, followed by alcohol at about 7 percent.”
Cochran said the tests don’t show all people with marijuana in their system were necessarily high, but rather it showed ingestion within the past four hours.
“Alcohol is very, very easy. With the drugs, it’s a big problem for us,” said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. “In the state of Washington, when they passed their law legalizing small amounts of marijuana, they said you can’t have any THC in your system and drive your car. Colorado didn’t have that so we’re watching closely to see what goes on there.”
Traffic safety messaging has been altered in California to be on trend, getting the word out about impaired drivers, not just drunk drivers.
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