While more than half of drivers said they did not get behind the wheel while intoxicated, 42% admitted they did.
A recent report revealed that more than 40% of U.S. drivers who use both alcohol and marijuana reported driving under the influence of one or both of the substances, according to a new study.
Researchers used data from 34,514 drivers aged 16 and up who reported past-year alcohol and cannabis use. They answered questions as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2016 to 2019.
While more than half of respondents said they did not get behind the wheel while intoxicated, 42% admitted they did.
The study also found drivers who used both substances were nearly three times more likely to drive while under the influence of marijuana and more than 3.5 times as likely to drive under the influence of both alcohol and cannabis.
Previous studies have concluded that both alcohol and cannabis can impair cognitive function and motor coordination, making it dangerous for anyone under the influence to get behind the wheel, especially younger drivers with less experience.
“Alcohol and cannabis are two of the most common substances involved in impaired driving and motor vehicle crashes in the U.S.,” Priscila Dib Gonçalves, author of the study and researcher in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School, said in a statement.
“Examining the effect of simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use on self-report driving under the (DUI) of alcohol-only, cannabis-only, and both substances using a nationally representative sample could contribute to better understanding the impact in adolescents and adults,” Gonçalves added.
Driving High Is Less Dangerous Than Drunk Driving
While drunk driving dramatically increases the chances of getting into an accident, researchers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found no evidence to suggest the same was true of marijuana use, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report, “Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers” that concluded it was about as safe as driving while sober once variables are adjusted for.
The Columbia Mailman School study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.