Stoned drivers safer than drunk ones, federal data show

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Calavera
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Stoned drivers safer than drunk ones, federal data show

Post by Calavera » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:05 am

Stoned drivers safer than drunk ones, federal data show




WASHINGTON – A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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 drugs or alcohol before driving.

For marijuana, and for a number of other legal and illegal drugs including antidepressants, painkillers, stimulants and the like, there is no statistically significant change in the risk of a crash associated with using that drug before driving. But overall alcohol use, measured at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold of 0.05 or above, increases the odds of a wreck nearly sevenfold.

The study’s findings underscore an important point: that the measurable presence of THC (marijuana’s primary active ingredient) in a person’s system doesn’t correlate with impairment in the same way that blood alcohol concentration does. The NHTSA doesn’t mince words: “At the current time, specific drug concentration levels cannot be reliably equated with a specific degree of driver impairment.”

There are a whole host of factors why detectable drug presence doesn’t indicate impairment the way it does with alcohol. “Most psychoactive drugs are chemically complex molecules, whose absorption, action and elimination from the body are difficult to predict,” the report authors wrote, “and considerable differences exist between individuals with regard to the rates with which these processes occur. Alcohol, in comparison, is more predictable.” In heavy marijuana users, THC can be detectable in the body days or even weeks after the last use.

Several states have passed laws attempting to define “marijuana-impaired driving.” Colorado, for instance, sets a blood THC threshold of 0.5 nanograms per milliliter. But that number says next to nothing about whether a person is impaired or fit to drive.

Better roadside mechanisms are needed for detecting marijuana-related impairment. Several companies are developing pot breathalyzers for this purpose.

There’s a lot more research to be done into the effects of marijuana use on driving ability, particularly to get a better sense of how pot’s effect on driving diminishes in the hours after using.




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Re: Stoned drivers safer than drunk ones, federal data show

Post by |darc| » Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:07 pm

I wonder what Wagh thinks about this.
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Re: Stoned drivers safer than drunk ones, federal data show

Post by Eviltaco64X » Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:26 am

I wonder if the constant fear of being pulled over contributes more to drunk-drivers' inability to focus on the road than it does to prevent it.
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Re: Stoned drivers safer than drunk ones, federal data show

Post by |darc| » Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:50 pm

Eviltaco64X wrote:I wonder if the constant fear of being pulled over contributes more to drunk-drivers' inability to focus on the road than it does to prevent it.
I would say if you're truly drunk, like fucked up, no. Usually your inhibitions are already taken down to the point where you're not worried about the cops. But if you're in this state, you definitely shouldn't be driving anyway, because you're too fucked up to drive.

That having been said, I think many people who are above the legal limit (but not substantially so) can drive perfectly fine but do get incredibly nervous when doing so. It's MADD do-gooder types who have created this meme that anyone who has a beer and gets behind the wheel will kill a family of four on their way home.
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Re: Stoned drivers safer than drunk ones, federal data show

Post by Wagh » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:54 am

|darc| wrote:I wonder what Wagh thinks about this.
Hah! Yeah, I would tend to agree with the study however there are caveats. I think the main thing to understand with bud is that it really depends on the sativa or indica and the strain as well as your own body chemistry.

I know some people that can puff on girl scout cookies and could probably launch a space shuttle. I know others that can puff on Sour Diesel and not be able to move their arms enough to turn the wheel.

All that said I used to do this a lot. Lately though I've all but stopped driving high. The past couple times I've tried it have been unpleasant and I didn't feel like I had control. But I've also driven across the country multiple times high as balls with no issues either.

Different strokes for different folks me thinks.
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