Marijuana users who drive high are 2x more likely to be involved in a crash

19 June 2019

B-ROLL -- Roadside Sobriety Checks

TAMPA, Fla., (June 19, 2019) — An estimated 14.8 million Americans report driving within one hour of using marijuana in the past 30 days. This alarming figure is part of the findings of a new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey. This survey also revealed that nearly 70 percent of Americans feel it’s unlikely people who drive high will be caught by police. Click here to view the report.

“Drivers who get behind the wheel while impaired put themselves and others at risk," said Jenkins. “AAA recommends all motorists avoid driving while impaired by marijuana or any other drug (including alcohol) to keep the roads safe. Remember, just because a drug is legal, that does not make it is safe to use while operating a motor vehicle."

In the AAA Foundation survey, 7% of Americans said they approve of driving after recently using marijuana. That’s more than other dangerous behaviors like alcohol-impaired driving (1.6%), drowsy driving (1.7%), and prescription drug-impaired driving (3%).

Other survey findings show that:

  • Millennials (nearly 14%) are most likely to report driving within one hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days, followed by Generation Z (10%).
  • Men (8%) are more likely than women (5%) to report driving shortly after using marijuana in the past 30 days.

“It’s deeply concerning that many Americans don’t consider marijuana-impaired driving as risky as other behaviors like driving drunk or texting while driving," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Marijuana can significantly alter reaction times and impair a driver’s judgement. It is important for everyone to understand that driving ’high’ puts you, your passengers, and other motorists in danger.”

  • The impairing effects of marijuana are usually experienced within the first one to four hours after using the drug.1 
  • Marijuana users who drive high are up to twice as likely to be involved in a crash.2

Enforcement

Law enforcement officials are getting more sophisticated in their methods of identifying drug-impaired drivers. View B-Roll of Law Enforcement Officers conducting roadside sobriety tests.

Programs like Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and the 50-State Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program were developed to train law enforcement officers around the country to more effectively recognize drug-impaired driving. There are currently more than 87,000 ARIDE and 8,300 DECP trained officers patrolling U.S. roads. Additionally, the number of trained Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) has increased by 30% since 2013. These officers report that marijuana is the most frequently identified drug category. Since 2015, the number of drivers arrested by DREs for using marijuana increased 20%.3

Citations

1MacDonald S. Cannabis Crashes: Myths & Truths 2019
2Hall W. What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use? Addiction 2015; 110: 19-35.
32017 Annual DECP Report - International Association of Chiefs of Police

About the Study
The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,582 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008, and the latest report is online at www.AAAFoundation.org.

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 59 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.

Contact(s)

Mark Jenkins
Email: majenkins@aaasouth.com
Phone: (813) 288-7906
Cell Phone: (850) 532-0730