Marijuana Use and Driving – FACT or CRAP Part 7

Is the following statement FACT or CRAP?

7. Marijuana makes you a worse driver.

Answer: FACT

Marijuana decreases your reaction time, motor coordination, and driving skills. Marijuana Impaired Driving:

Most people know you should not get behind the wheel of a car afterdrinking alcohol. But oddly enough, many of those same people wouldn’t even think twice about driving after using marijuana products. After all, it’s just pot, right? It’s not like it’s as bad as booze. Wrong.

Like all drugs, marijuana is a toxin: it poisons users’ brains, throwing off their normal reflexes and otherwise knocking them off kilter. Copious research has clearly demonstrated that driving stoned is as dangerous as driving drunk. In fact, laboratory studies using simulators and instruments, summarized here in a 2017 report to Congress by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), have shown that marijuana impairs a number of critical driving skills, including the abilities to:

  • Brake suddenly when necessary
  • Drive straight and stay within one’s lane
  • Pay attention to multiple things, a must for driving (e.g., watching the road while also checking rear and side mirrors)
  • Pay attention to what’s around you
  • Plan routes
  • Make decisions
  • Assess risks

There is currently no easy-to-use field test for marijuana intoxication like we have for blood alcohol content. But marijuana demonstrably does impair driving skills, which inevitably causes crashes—as the states where marijuana has become legal have increasingly discovered. If you notice your kid is a horrible driver, look deeper. If you suspect marijuana use, a weekly drug test to keep driving privileges will verify they aren’t using marijuana and are safe to drive. The life you save may be your child’s.

See more FACT or CRAP statements

Read the February 15, 2022 Johnny’s Ambassadors Newsletter

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