According to a new survey by the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA), nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t think they will be arrested for driving high on cannabis.
The report shows nearly 15 million Americans reported driving within an hour after consuming cannabis in the past 30 days. Seven percent of Americans reported approval for driving under the influence of cannabis, higher than other dangerous behaviors like prescription drug-impaired driving and alcohol-impaired driving. “Marijuana can significantly alter reaction times and impair a driver’s judgment,” Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Yet, many drivers don’t consider marijuana-impaired driving as risky as other behaviors like driving drunk or talking on the phone while driving.”
Millennials are said to be the most likely to report driving within one hour after consuming cannabis in the past 30 days, followed by Generation Z. The study also found that men were more likely than women to report driving after consuming cannabis. A recent study in Washington found 14 percent of drivers were testing positive for cannabis while children were in the car.
“It’s terrifying,” said Helen Witty, the national president for Mothers Against Drunk Driving said. “Impairment is impairment. We should be terrified, as law-abiding citizens, that there are so many people out on the road driving impaired on anything.
As more states legalize cannabis, the number of drivers using cannabis has risen as well. Programs like the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program have been developed to help officers better recognize the signs of impaired driving. The AAA states there are 8,300 officers in the DEC program, however, an expert in the DEC program run by the International Association of Chiefs of Police said less than one percent of all officers have had this training.