Times are changing. Thirty years ago, there was an alarming amount of people driving under the influence of alcohol on the road. Now, with the legalization of marijuana beginning to perpetuate America, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is finding that there are more and more driving under the influence of marijuana and other drugs – basically, driving while high which can be a marijuana-related DUI.
According to NHTSA, the 2014 roadside survey shows us that only 8 percent of those driving at night on the weekends had drunk before driving. About 1 percent of those drivers’ BACs were above the legal limit. That’s 30 percent lower compared to the 2007 survey. However, the number of people driving after taking drugs (whether prescription or not) in 2007, which was 16.3 percent, rose to 20 percent in 2014, and the number of drivers under the influence of marijuana rose by 50 percent.
In addition to these surveys, NHTSA also did research to see if smoking marijuana is as deadly as drinking alcohol before driving. According to that study, smoking marijuana did make driving more dangerous, but we also have to remember that it is “most common among a group already at high risk for crashes: young men.” Therefore, the NHTSA will have to conduct more extensive research to see exactly how marijuana and prescription drugs affect drivers and the risk for crashes.
What does that mean for the rest of us? Well, because no one is 100 percent sure of what being high or having prescription drugs in your system while driving can do to you or others on the road, there currently are no set laws on how to regulate or handle these kinds of cases. The only thing that can be concluded is that the best thing to do to ensure that you will drive safely is to make sure you are completely functional (no drugs, no alcohol, no fatigue) before getting on the road.