How Much Does Marijuana Impact Your Driving?

IOWA:  A rigorous federal research study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse offers new data on the effects of marijuana on driving performance.

The exact impact of marijuana on driving ability is a controversial subject—and it’s become more important states continue to loosen their drug laws. And, while drunk driving is on the decline in the U.S., driving after having smoked or otherwise consumer marijuana has become more common. According to the most recent national roadside survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of weekend nighttime drivers, 8.3 percent had some alcohol in their system and 12.6 percent tested positive for THC—up from 8.6 percent in 2007.

It is illegal in all states to drive under the influence of anything, but years of work went in to establishing the .08 breathe alcohol limit that exists in most states. The question is whether we can establish a similar threshold for pot.

Colorado State Patrol: Legal Marijuana Brought ‘New Era’ Of DUI Arrests In 2014

COLORADO:   The legalization of marijuana in Colorado brought with it a “new era” of impaired driving, the Colorado State Patrol said Thursday.

Of more than 5,500 drug- and alcohol-related tickets served to impaired drivers in 2014, 354 of them involved only marijuana.

CSP released statewide data late Thursday; no county or city breakdown was available.

Overall, 18.5 percent of citations for driving under the influence, or DUI, and driving under the influence of drugs, DUID, involved marijuana.

 

Ontario To Bring In Stronger Punishment For Driving Under Influence Of Drugs

CANADA:  Canada’s stance on the legal use of marijuana remains somewhat ambiguous, with rules and their implementation varying on a case-by-case basis.

Certain parts of the marijuana debate, most notably the legality of medical marijuana, the recreational use of pot and the hesitance of some law enforcement agencies to crack down on it, continue to be discussed at length. But there has been little argument about what users can and should do while under the influence – most notably, refrain from operating motor vehicles.

Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal across Canada, and several provinces have already laid out strict punishments for the action. Ontario will soon strengthen its own, when the government approves a new set of amendments for traffic laws in the province.

Bill 31, unambiguously called the Transportation Statue Law Amendment Act, was introduced before the previous provincial election and will soon return to Queen’s Park.

 

Washington State Looks To Ban Pot In Vehicles

WASHINGTON:  When it comes to setting limits on driving while under the influence, the architects of Washington’s legal marijuana law largely aimed to imitate the state’s rules for alcohol.

In one crucial respect, though, state officials say the legal pot law is different: There’s no explicit language saying that you can’t smoke marijuana in a car.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission wants state lawmakers to fix that oversight when they reconvene in January. The commission plans to ask the Legislature to create a clear rule stating that neither drivers nor their passengers can smoke or have open packages of marijuana inside a vehicle, said Darrin Grondel, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Grondel said the goal is to mirror the state’s open container law, which says drivers can’t have open, partially consumed or unsealed containers of alcohol inside the passenger cabin of a car. An opened and recorked bottle of wine, for instance, should go in the trunk or a locked vehicle compartment, according to state law.

Initiative 502, which Washington state voters approved in 2012 to legalize recreational pot use, contained no language setting up the same rule for marijuana, Grondel said.