5 Things To Know About Driving On Marijuana

WASHINGTON:  The legalization of recreational marijuana in two states — Colorado and Washington — and medical marijuana in more than 20 others has raised concern that there will be more drivers stoned behind the wheel. What’s not clear is whether that will translate into an increase in fatal crashes.

WHAT WE KNOW

While marijuana users can perform simple tasks well while they are high, brain imaging has shown that they have to use more of their brain to do so. Their reaction times are slower, peripheral vision is decreased and multitasking impeded. As a result, when sudden or surprising things occur to complicate those tasks — such as when a pedestrian steps in front of a car — they cannot respond as well. On the other hand, marijuana users tend to be aware they are impaired and try to compensate for it.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

It’s not clear how much marijuana use contributes to crash risk. Some studies have found that marijuana can double crash risk, but others have found virtually no increase.

 

More Pot, Safer Roads: Marijuana Legalization Could Bring Unexpected Benefits

WASHINGTON:  The anti-pot group Project SAM claims drug test data show that marijuana legalization in Washington, approved by voters in that state at the end of 2012, already has made the roads more dangerous. The group notes with alarm that the percentage of people arrested for driving under the influence of a drug (DUID) who tested positive for marijuana rose by a third between 2012 and 2013. [Read more…]