The number of people driving after smoking weed is surprising. The report also found that almost 7 in every 10 Americans believe it’s “unlikely” police will pull them over for driving under the influence of marijuana. What’s more, they’re probably right. Nearly 15 million Americans got behind the wheel of a car within an hour of smoking marijuana in the past 30 days, according to a study released by AAA.
Only a blood test can determine THC impairment. Unlike alcohol, this makes it highly difficult for officers to prosecute charges of driving under the influence. While there are officers who can identify THC-impaired drivers, only an estimated 8,300 police officers nationwide have received such training.
“Marijuana can significantly alter reaction times and impair a driver’s judgement. Yet, many drivers don’t consider marijuana-impaired driving as risky as other behaviors like driving drunk or talking on the phone while driving,” Dr. David Yang, Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, told ABC 7. “It is important for everyone to understand that driving after recently using marijuana can put themselves and others at risk.”
However, the report highlighted that attitudes about the dangers of driving while high are unlikely to change anytime soon. Over 13% of Americans considered driving within an hour of smoking marijuana “slightly dangerous” or “not dangerous at all.” Previous studies actually highlighted that number being even higher, as half of marijuana users think they can drive while high.
We dove into the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana before, and how traffic deaths rose following the months of marijuana legalization, only to drop back to previous levels several months later. When it comes to the law, you should also know the potential consequences of driving while high nationwide.