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Rep. Cheeseman Attempts to Make CT Roads Safer

Posted on April 30, 2024


Crackdown on Driving While High (VIDEO)

HARTFORD—State Rep. Holly Cheeseman expressed disappointment on Monday night for the majority party’s lack of motivation to curb the increasing occurrences of driving while high on cannabis after they opposed Republican legislation aimed at making Connecticut’s roadways and communities safer.

“These amendments were measures aimed to make our dangerous roads safer. Today, in 2024, Connecticut is headed for its deadliest year on its state roadways and the majority party’s answer to the carnage is to stand on the sidelines and do nothing, said Rep. Cheeseman. “It’s outrageous that a police officer is prohibited from pulling over a vehicle if they observe a driver using or smell marijuana emanating from the vehicle. How is that safe?”

During debate on H.B. 5500 on Monday evening, House Republicans reminded Democrats of the crisis on Connecticut’s roadways—wrong way driving, in particular. Rep. Cheeseman and

House Republicans have for several years urged their colleagues to address the impact of their efforts to commercialize marijuana.

The majority party rejected two amendments (LCO 4819 and 4821) that would allow police officers to make those marijuana-related traffic stops.

The second Republican amendment defeated by the majority would have allowed police officers to stop a car for a marijuana violation when the officer reasonably believed someone in the car is a minor.

“There should be NO debate, it is our duty to protect our young people, their lungs, and their still developing brains from illegal substances like pot and its dangerous toxic smoke,” added Rep. Cheeseman.

According to previous testimony by the AAA, ‘the message that drinking and driving is dangerous is nearly universally accepted – but the same cannot be said for cannabis-impaired driving. In AAA’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, only 65% of drivers felt that driving within an hour of using marijuana was very or extremely dangerous, compared with 93% of drivers who perceived that risk level from driving when they might be over the legal limit. Driving under the influence of cannabis is generally perceived to be more socially acceptable than driving under the influence of alcohol.’

Additionally, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has stated that, “Driving impaired is not a victimless crime. Impaired drivers are a danger to their passengers, other drivers, and every other road user. We encourage policymakers to make our streets safer for all by enhancing driver education for young drivers.”