Cannabis and Driving

Does cannabis affect our ability to drive?  Do you expect to see more accidents in Temecula and Murrieta, California because of legalized Cannabis?

Does the presence of a drug in the body indicate impairment?  Currently 11 states have a 0 tolerance for THC in the blood of drivers although NTSB researchers have pointed out that the presence of THC in your blood does not indicate impairment.  THC persists in the human body long after effects of cannabis have worn off. The researchers concurred that certain amounts of alcohol were directly linked with impaired driving, but were not able to establish a level at which THC impairs driving.

NTSB conducted three studies in 1993 and published their findings in "Marijuana And Actual Driving Performance".  The studies included drivers who had smoked cannabis with one on a highway closed to other traffic, one with other traffic, and one who had drunk alcohol.

The studies assessed various aspects of driving -maintaining a steady speed, maintaining a safe position in traffic, following another car in traffic, and urban driving. The subjects were also made to perform simple physical tests to determine levels of impairment.  The cannabis smokers perceived their driving worse than the observers and the conclusion was that cannabis smokers drive more carefully when they know they are impaired.

Information from decades of statistics of auto fatalities in the US shows that cannabis can modestly impair driving, but alcohol and prescription pills fair much worse with loss of motor coordination and impaired perception.

So, we may not see increased traffic accidents in Temecula or Murrieta, California because of legalized cannabis, but you still should not drive being impaired even just a little bit.  Just as drinkers have a designated driver, tokers should have one too.

I know many people who insist that cannabis makes them drive even safer.  What do you think?


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