Stoned drivers are a lot safer than drunk ones, according to new studies

This shouldn’t be a surprise as I have previously blogged about studies showing drivers who use marijuana are not as impaired as drivers who consume alcohol.  But I recently came across this article in the Washington Post that went into a little more detail about a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Marijuana DUI impairment.

According to the recent study in Feb of 2015 NHTSA found that drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk for a crash than drivers who use alcohol. And after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana  were no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving.

So what does this mean?  To put it simply and the gist I got from the study as well as the article is that when it comes to driving, alcohol is more likely to cause an accident than marijuana.  If you read the article closely words aren’t minced when it states at the current time specific drug levels cannot be equated to specific driver of driver impairment based on the current science and studies.

For example the legal limit we have for marijuana in Washington State is 5 nanograms of THC.  Basically this study by NHTSA shows this number is garbage and was just randomly selected. to appease the state legislators and the governor.  That’s why I was not in favor of the legalization of Marijuana under the bill that was passed.  Not because I wasn’t in favor of the idea but I knew this s called level was extremely low and didn’t show a true level impairment when it came to driving.  But lost in the excitement of legalizing Marijuana the voters here in Washington state didn’t seem to care nor question any aspects of the bill.

Unfortunately for anybody who regularly uses Marijuana, I can pretty much guarantee to you that you’re driving over the legal limit probably a majority of the time and you face a King County DUI every day.  All it takes is that one time for a police officer to pull you over for committing a minor infraction or some other BS reason and have them smell the odor of marijuana.  You’re toast regardless if you recently used or not.  This “legal limit” will stay in your system for a while and then you will be facing a Marijuana DUI arrest.  So please be careful when using.

Anyway if you’re interested here is the article from the Washington Post with a link to the study that was conducted by NHTSA in Feb 2015.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle.  He is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC a boutique criminal defense law firm that focuses on DUI and DUI related offenses.