Marijuana Might Make You a Worse Driver Than Alcohol Does

From The New Republic:

“Supporters of legal marijuana, medical or otherwise, are fond of pointing out that marijuana is less deadly than alcohol. Even President Obama’s deputy drug czar admitted as much in February. That doesn’t mean pot is harmless: USA Today reported Tuesday that marijuana’s role in traffic fatalities tripled between 2000 and 2010, according to Columbia University researchers. But driving stoned is still safer than driving drunk, right? Don’t be so sure.”

With some calling for legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes like Colorado and Washington, I’m especially concerned with impaired driving when both alcohol and marijuana are used together. As the article points out:

“The researchers concluded that the percentage of TOL [time out of lane] was not significantly affected by either alcohol or marijuana alone, but that it was much higher when both substances were used together.”

Will drivers under the legal limit for blood alcohol level (BAC) but also under the influence of marijuana perceive themselves as too impaired to drive, and result in more potentially fatal traffic accidents? Time and data will tell.

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