Stoned Driving | Stoner Guide
One of the most heard arguments against legal cannabis is the fact that drivers that are stoned are at high risk for accidents, potentially injuring themselves and others. But even though this is a strong debate point for anti-cannabis supporters, about 70% of people don’t think that driving while stoned is dangerous according to a recent Gallup poll. Only 29% said that cannabis was a serious problem when used while driving. So are high drivers dangerous?
In 2013, nearly a third of all of the fatal accidents were caused by alcohol impairment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seeing as how alcohol is already legal, one would think that this substance would be more of a focal point than cannabis. The plant, while it does impair driving ability, doesn’t have the same effects as alcohol on a driver. People who have been drinking are physically impaired and don’t really think that they are. Drunk drivers will driver faster, more aggressively, tailgate, and make rash decisions behind the wheel. People who are stoned, on the other hand, overestimate their impairment and will tend to driver slower, leave larger distances between themselves and other cars, or overcompensate to be sure that they’re following traffic laws.
A study conducted in 2013 in the Journal of Law and Economics, it was found that after medical marijuana laws were passed, traffic fatalities fell. It was evening accidents and drunk/alcohol related incidents that saw the most drastic decrease. The researchers who conducted the study hypothesized that cannabis may actually be decreasing accidents because people are smoking as compared to drinking. But it’s difficult to see a true correlation as traffic fatalities have been falling across the country for years, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Cars are now safer with new technology, less people risking drinking and driving, or other unknown factors might play a part in the decline.
So is stoned driving a serious risk? Not really. It isn’t recommended that you drive while high, especially if you’re not familiar with it. Alcohol has been proven to be far more dangerous of a substance to drive on, causing many accidents over the years. But cannabis doesn’t seem to have that much of a negative effect on drivers. More study is definitely needed but as of right now, it would seem that the argument against cannabis because of driving isn’t a very strong one.