3 Reasons Why Drugged Driving is Dangerous
Most people, when asked if driving while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, would say, “Yes.” Significantly fewer people would answer the same when asked about marijuana use. There is a prevailing theory that stoned drivers are more cautious drivers, but is this really the case?
1. Fatal Crashes Involving Marijuana Have Tripled
The American Journal of Epidemiology published a report that showed that between 1999 and 2010, incidents of car accidents involving marijuana use have risen from 4.2 percent to 12.2 percent. One of the co-author said in an interview, “Currently one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana. If this trend continues, in five or six years non-alcohol drugs will overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving.”
2. Marijuana Impairs Necessary Driving Functions
Marijuana can slow reaction time, impairment accurate judgment of timing and distances, and decrease motor function. Studies have shown that even in small amounts, marijuana can cause drivers to weave within their lanes. Still impairments caused by marijuana use are only linked to a modest reduction in driving performance.
3. Stoned Drivers Behave Differently Than Drunk Drivers
Studies show that stoned drivers have a greater self-awareness of their intoxication level, and therefore tend to drive to combat their impaired level of function. Drunk drivers, on the other hand, tend to have less self-awareness and therefore are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like swerving in and out of lanes, speeding, and tailgating. However, while drivers who have smoked a small amount of marijuana might be safer than a driver with any amount of alcohol in his or her system, but safe driving practices quickly deteriorated with a very stoned driver behind the wheel.