Kansas City, Mo. – Twice as many people have been killed in Kansas City traffic wrecks this year compared with last and drug impaired drivers are nearly as common as drunken ones. Police choose the 20th day of the fourth month, four-twenty, to key on cannabis behind the wheel . KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports:
Four-20 has special significance in the marijuana culture as a date and/or time to get high. It dates to a 1971 California school ritual as the hour and minute detention let out. Kansas City Sergeant Dan Graves briefed some 40 officers from city and suburbs , about to go on traffic patrol and surveillance around schools and parks and looking for cannabis smokers. He told the law enforcers," if we can stop the people early from getting out and driving, that's what we want to do"
Traffic crash investigator Bill Johnson has spent a decade examining wrecks that kill. He says average brain to body delay from marijuana is enough to cause a crash. In his words,"one point five seconds is average (lag for) perception and reaction."
Of 24 Kansas City road deaths this year, five are tied to drug use, thirteen to alcohol in the driver.