Friday, September 5, 2014

Driving Stoned?

.08 is been drilled into anyone ever getting a license or even going to the DMV for that matter.  It is the legal limit of alcohol that is allowed in your blood stream to be able to drive legally.  Now with the legalization of marijuana becoming more and more popular law enforcement agencies are looking at how driving under the influence of marijuana will affect future and current laws. 

With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington there are more drivers on the road that are “impaired” from marijuana.  Besides the two states that allow recreational marijuana there are 24 states that allow it solely for medical purposes.  However, with the acceptance of marijuana being pushed to the front of the news there are speculations that recreational marijuana will soon be allowed in Alaska, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and the District of Columbia.

There is not a lot of data on this topic and while some people say driving while high will negatively affect the driver’s ability to maneuver safely; others say that driving will high has no impact on the driver whatsoever.

“Colorado, Washington and Montana have set an intoxication threshold of 5 parts per billion of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot, in the blood. A few other states have set intoxication thresholds, but most have not set a specific level. In Washington, there was a jump of nearly 25 percent in drivers testing positive for marijuana in 2013 - the first full year after legalization - but no corresponding increase in car accidents or fatalities.

What worries highway safety experts are cases like that of New York teenager Joseph Beer, who in October 2012 smoked marijuana, climbed into a Subaru Impreza with four friends and drove more than 100 mph before losing control. The car crashed into trees with such force that the vehicle split in half, killing his friends.

Beer pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and was sentenced this past week to 5 years to 15 years in prison.

A prosecutor blamed the crash on "speed and weed," but a Yale University Medical School expert on drug abuse who testified at the trial said studies of marijuana and crash risk are "highly inconclusive." Some studies show a two- or three-fold increase, while others show none, said Dr. Mehmet Sofuoglu. Some studies even showed less risk if someone was marijuana positive, he testified.” -- (Associated Press Quote)


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting research to get a better idea of how pot affects driving. NHTSA and Washington state officials have also teamed up to assess change in marijuana use by drivers before and after the state allowed retail sale of the drug, with results due next year.

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