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Many perceive driving on weed is OK

Wednesday, January 10, 2018by  Jon Osterberg

Driver high on weed sees distorted roadway and trafficYet another survey has revealed many Americans perceive that driving while high on marijuana is less risky than drunk driving.

The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that a nationwide survey conducted in April and May 2017 shows the disparity: 88% of high schoolers and 93% of parents said alcohol-impaired driving is dangerous, but just 68% of teens and 76% of parents said the same about driving while high.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have drug-impaired driving laws.

The Insurance Information Institute reported in November that more than one-third of people age 18 to 44 would ride in a car with a driver high on marijuana, showing greater tolerance than for riding with a drunk driver.

The Denver Post reported in August that a Colorado Department of Transportation survey found that 72% of Colorado marijuana consumers thought it was safer to drive under the influence of marijuana than under the influence of alcohol.

In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control noted that marijuana impairs driving in several ways:

  • marijuana slows reaction time and ability to make decisions

  • it impairs coordination, distorts perception, and hampers problem-solving

  • when combined with alcohol use, impaired driving worsens beyond what it would be for either drug by itself.

Orane road sign says "DUI check point ahead"IIHS cites 2017 research showing legalized marijuana use correlates with more crashes. Insurance collision claims rose 3% after recreational marijuana  became legal in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

Also, roughly one-third of teens and one-quarter of parents surveyed mistakenly believe it's legal to drive under the influence of marijuana in states where recreational marijuana is legal.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana.

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