Study shows ‘driving while cannabis-impaired’ ‘doubles car crash risk,’ but drunk driving still may be more dangerous
Drivers who are high on marijuana are twice as likely to get in a crash as sober drivers. That’s the conclusion of a study that was recently published in the Society for the Study of Addiction’s journal Addiction and reported on by the Huffington Post.
For years I’ve been seeing people hurt by drivers who tested positive for marijuana in hospital records. This latest study confirms what many people – especially lawyers like myself who represent people injured in car accidents at the hands of drugged and drunk drivers – already knew, which is that driving while high on marijuana or alcohol can be is extremely dangerous.
It also lends support and justification to serious penalties meted out to drivers who insist on putting the public and themselves at risk by driving while high on marijuana.
Entitled “What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use?,” the study answered its own question with the following conclusion:
“[C]annabis users who drive while intoxicated approximately double their risk of a car crash.”
Later, the study goes so far as to say:
“[C]annabis users who drive while intoxicated increase their risk of motor vehicle crashes 2-3 times …”
Dangerous as that is – and unacceptable as it is under all circumstances – it may not be the most dangerous form of impaired driving.
The study notes that drivers who have consumed “intoxicating doses of alcohol” increase their risk of a car crash by “6-15 times.”
Similarly, the Huffington Post references a MADD informational sheet entitled, “.08 Per Se,” which states that:
An alcohol-impaired driver with a blood-alcohol content of .08 “is 11 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than someone who has had nothing to drink.”