File photo of an April traffic collision involving an allegedly speeding motorcyclist under the influence of alcohol.
The city’s Department of Health and Human Services was awarded a $239,000 grant that will fund a year’s worth of special projects and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries, city officials announced today.
The grant came from the California Office of Traffic Safety and will be implemented through the city’s new Marijuana Education Program.
The program aims to be an “unbiased and trusted resource for health and safety information related to marijuana,” according to the release. Program activities will include participation in outreach events, distributing educational materials, online presence and social media campaigns and partnering with local businesses.
“We are happy to receive this OTS grant, and look forward to fueling the City’s ongoing efforts to keep pedestrians safe on our roadways and improve quality of life through education,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration National Roadside Survey for 2013-14 found that 22.5 percent of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs that could cause driving impairment, according to the release. Over 15 percent tested positive for illicit drugs and more than 12 percent tested positive for THC—a 4 percent increase from the 2007 survey.
“People are aware they should not drive drunk but many are unaware that it is also unsafe and illegal to drive high on marijuana and other drugs,” said Kelly Colopy, Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services Director, in a statement. “With the shifts in marijuana policy in our City and state, we intend to do everything we can to prevent high driving and reduce the number of people injured or killed in drug-involved collisions.”
The Marijuana Education Program is currently conducting a survey on the use and perception of marijuana and prescription drugs. The city is encouraging the community to take the survey by clicking here.