Sixty-Two Percent of Californians Unaware of Cannabis DUI Penalties

Most Californian drivers don’t fully grasp the legal risks of driving under the effects of cannabis, according to a new survey. In a July 17 press release, cannabis company Eaze released the results of its online survey entitled “Perceptions on Impairment: Cannabis Consumers in Focus.” The study was conducted in partnership with Lyft, which promotes safe driving practices for people who consume cannabis.

The survey was completed by 527 licensed Californian drivers who had consumed cannabis within the past 30 days. Fortunately, 81 percent of Californians said that they know driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal—but a whopping 62 percent said they are unaware of the penalties of cannabis DUIs. In addition, 46 percent of respondents said they do not know whether a legal limit exists for cannabis.

If anything, the survey highlights the need for better education on cannabis and driving laws in California. “This is the first window into how California’s cannabis consumers make transportation choices,” said Jim Patterson, CEO of Eaze. “Educating our customers is a cornerstone of Eaze’s mission, and we’re glad to see the Governor’s Office taking important steps to learn more about cannabis impairment. We hope that the study provides consumers, policymakers and public safety officials insights that increase road safety.”

As far as the ability to drive, 77 percent of respondents said they believe it does not affect their driving ability, and 16 percent believe cannabis improves their driving. Women were more cautious than men, and 23 percent of women said they never drive within eight hours of cannabis consumption. 

Other studies have arrived at fairly similar conclusions. Two years ago, a survey conducted by Harris Poll for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America found that more Americans were more concerned about drivers who text than drivers who smoke cannabis.

The solution? Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they would avoid driving under the influence of cannabis if “low-or-no-cost” rideshares, and 68 percent said they would avoid driving is cannabis delivery was available. The more people who utilize Lyft, Uber and rideshares, the less bad drivers will be out on the street.

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