Warnings go up about DUIs for pot users amid CA legalization

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A new year brings new laws, which means new warning signs on California highways. One of those is a crackdown on recreational marijuana that gets the green light on Jan. 1.

In a press conference Wednesday, officers shared the message that driving under the influence doesn't mean just booze.

"These preventable collisions result in hundreds of victims killed, thousands of people injured and countless families destroyed," one officer said.

As with any DUI, there are legal and monetary consequences. Driving high can cost you up to $10,000 in fines, fees and criminal penalties. Doug Shupe, of AAA, said there is a good reason for that.

"Marijuana actually decreases your attention and also causes increased lane deviation," he said.

California follows in the footsteps of other states such as Washington and Colorado, where the AAA safety foundation is already doing research.

"The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has already studied this issue. In fact, in the state of Washington, after that state legalized marijuana for recreational use, fatal crashes involving people who've recently used marijuana more than doubled," Shupe said.

It's a warning for Californians who are potentially days away from the same consequences.

Shupe added that similar to open-container alcohol laws, drivers and passengers cannot ingest or smoke marijuana while on the road.
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