The number of drivers getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs is growing. Statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2010 show an 18 percent increase in the number of drivers testing positive for drugs.
While the overall statistics from NHTSA illustrates an overall decline in the number of people injured in automobile accidents, the use of drugs, notably marijuana, seems to be on the rise. With the legalization of the drug gaining popularity in states like Washington that legalized the recreational use of the drug in November 2012, the question about the impact of the increased use of the drug by drivers and the potential impact remains to be seen.
Marijuana use has been debated. Some even contend that it is relatively harmless to be stoned behind the wheel. But, a 2009 study released by the NHTSA showed that a full third of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs, not including alcohol.
Can you safely drive while you are high on marijuana? Consider that:
- Marijuana dramatically changes perception
- Pot users are often dizzy
- Stoned drivers have a delayed reaction time
- Marijuana use causes drivers to dramatically drift and swerve
Marijuana users cause hundreds of accidents every year. What’s more, random testing of drivers in a 2007 study by the NHTSA found that in a sample of night drivers, 16 percent were on drugs. Without a doubt, driving under the influence of marijuana is still impaired driving.