TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Many cannabis users mark April 20, also known as 420, as an unofficial day to use and celebrate marijuana. In light of that, AAA and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are warning about the dangers of “drugged driving.”
AAA found that drivers who use alcohol and marijuana together are the most dangerous drivers on the road. They found that fatal crashes involving drivers who test positive for marijuana were increasing in the states where marijuana was legalized.
In Colorado, Washington and Oregon where recreational marijuana was legalized, the insurance institute for highway safety found a 6% increase in crashes.
Back in 2017, 13 people died in a massive Texas accident. Investigators later found that the driver had THC in his system.
“Drivers who used alcohol and marijuana were more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol and more likely to exhibit deadly behaviors like texting and driving speeding running red lights, etc.,” Daniel Armbruster said.
According to AAA, drivers who admitted to using both alcohol and marijuana were more likely to report such behaviors as:
- Speeding on residential streets (55%) vs. alcohol-only (35%)
- Aggressive driving (52%) vs. alcohol-only (28%)
- Intentional red-light running (48%) vs alcohol-only (32%)
- Texting while driving (40%) vs. alcohol-only (21%)
When someone gets pulled over for drunk driving, there’s a breathalyzer test that can land them behind bars. If your blood alcohol content is found to be above 0.08%, you are considered legally intoxicated.
When it comes to marijuana, however, there is no policing standard in Texas for how much you can have in your system.
“With marijuana and other substances there’s a blood test, but we don’t have a standard,” MADD’s Kathy Davidson said.
Leading up to 420, MADD and next step community solutions in Tyler put together a warning video laying out the risks of using marijuana as a minor.
“We try to educate about what kinds of conversations to have with their kids about alcohol and marijuana and how that could change the way your life turns out,” Davidson said.
The Texas legislator is currently considering bills that lessen penalties for cannabis possession and increase access to medical marijuana.
AAA says it opposes the legalization of recreational marijuana because of its “traffic safety risks and the difficulties in writing legislation that protects the public and treats drivers fairly.”
In 2015, Mothers Against Drunk Driving expanded its mission to include fighting drug-impaired driving. Last year, they said more research and better data testing is needed to fully understand the impact of marijuana legalization and other drugs on traffic safety and the under 21 population.
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