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Dysart Willis

'Stoned' drivers may not be as dangerous as drunk drivers

As more states allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, it is more likely that people may be found with marijuana in their systems after being stopped (or charged) with driving under the influence of alcohol. To the uninitiated, it may seem that driving while high on marijuana may be much more dangerous than driving drunk.

To the contrary.

According to researchers at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers who are under the influence of alcohol are far more dangerous than drivers who are “stoned.” They reasoned that there was no statistically significant change in the risk of a crash while using marijuana compared to alcohol.

There are a number of reasons behind this theory, including that marijuana metabolizes in a person’s body much differently that alcohol does, and because of the complex elements in marijuana, it is difficult to predict how it will be absorbed or affect the driver at the time of driving. However, because of how long marijuana can stay in a person’s system without having impairing effects, it is difficult to determine whether a driver was actually impaired when driving.

Nevertheless, there is a great deal of information indicating that stoned drivers can be a danger to the driving public. Like any other drug, if you ingest enough to impair your motor skills, you will be a danger behind the wheel of a car. However, until there is a more predictable way to identify whether a driver is specifically impaired by marijuana while driving, impaired driving charges may be difficult to sustain.