Stoned drivers are a lot safer than drunk ones, new federal data show

Stoned drivers are a lot safer than drunk ones

A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk for a crash than drivers who use alcohol.

However, by surveying volunteers they found driving with alcohol in your system and driving with THC in your system had very different results.

According to one study, drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 are 400 percent more likely to get into a car accident than a sober driver.

Drivers testing positive for THC are about 25 percent more likely to crash. But, when you factor in demographic information like age and gender, that number drops to about five percent.

Democratic representative Don Pabon calls it the lesser of two evils.

“If you’re texting and driving or haven’t gotten enough sleep before you get behind the wheel, drinking and driving, smoking and driving, I mean none of this is good for the people of Colorado,” Pabon said.

Scroll down for video

Stoned-drivers-are-a-lot-safer-than-drunk-ones-new-federal-data-showThe chart above tells the story. 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 prior to driving. But overall alcohol use, measured at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold of 0.05 or above, increases your odds of a wreck nearly seven-fold.

Stoned drivers are safer than drunk drivers

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 write, “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, measurable amounts of THC can be detectable in the body days or even weeks after the last use, and long after any psychoactive effects remain.

Several states have passed laws attempting to define “marijuana-impaired driving” similarly to drunk driving. Colorado, for instance, sets a blood THC threshold of 0.5 nanograms per milliliter. But that number tells us next to nothing about whether a person is impaired or fit to drive. The implication is that these states are locking up people who are perfectly sober.

A companion study released by the NHTSA identified a sharp jump in the number of weekend night-time drivers testing positive for THC between 2007 and 2013/2014, from 8.6 percent to 12.6 percent. Numbers like these are alarming at first glance. They generate plenty of thoughtless media coverage. They’re used by marijuana legalization opponents to conjure up the bogeyman of legions of stoned drivers menacing the nation’s roads.

But all these numbers really tell us is that more people are using marijuana at some point in the days or weeks before they drive. With legalization fully underway in several states, there’s nothing surprising about this. “The change in use may reflect the emergence of a new trend in the country that warrants monitoring,” the NHTSA study concludes.

So, should we all assume that we’re safe to blaze one and go for a joyride whenever the whimsy strikes us?

Absolutely not. There’s plenty of evidence showing that marijuana use impairs key driving skills. If you get really stoned and then get behind the wheel, you’re asking for trouble.

What we do need, however, are better roadside mechanisms for detecting marijuana-related impairment. Several companies are developing pot breathalyzers for this purpose.

We also need a lot more research 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. But this kind of research remains incredibly difficult to do, primarily because the federal government still classifies weed as a Schedule 1 substance, as dangerous as heroin.

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Spain Study Confirms Hemp Oil Cures Cancer without Side Effects

The International Medical Veritas Association (IMVA) is putting hemp oil on its cancer protocol. It is a prioritized protocol list whose top five items...

98% of Countries Ban Fluoride in their Water

Most Countries Ban or Reject Water Fluoridation: Why North America is Actually the Exception ? Water fluoridation is just one of the many hot-button health...

EPA Faces Lawsuit For Withholding Records Related To Pesticide Rule Change

On Tuesday, Farmworker Justice and Earthjustice sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for refusing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request related...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

Complete List of BANKS Owned/Controlled by the Rothschild Family

What’s the significance of having a central bank within a country and why should you concern yourself, your family and colleagues? Central banks are illegally...

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Spain Study Confirms Hemp Oil Cures Cancer without Side Effects

The International Medical Veritas Association (IMVA) is putting hemp oil on its cancer protocol. It is a prioritized protocol list whose top five items...

Butter vs Margarine

Is butter bad for you? For decades, the food processing industry has used advertising campaigns to successfully lie about the urgent and proven need...

10 ‘Health’ Foods That Can Actually Hurt Us

Nutrition Nonsense: 'Health' Foods That Can Kill You Sometimes you have to be wary of the ‘health’ food advice you hear rumored in the blog-o-sphere....

British Bodybuilder Consuming 7-8 Energy Drinks Daily Dies from Liver Cancer

Rochdale, England resident Dean Wharmby wanted the perfect body. The bodybuilder crammed 10,000 calories a day into his dietary regimen, daily chugged 7-8 energy...

Al-Qaeda Propagandist Employed By CNN To Make Prize-Winning Syria Doc

CNN has had a difficult few weeks, with scandals ranging from false reporting in order to boost ratings to blackmailing a private citizen who created a meme lampooning...

After Years of Research, Big Pharma Finally Shows Evidence Cannabis Kills Cancer

In April 2015 the National Institute of Drug Abuse acknowledged that cannabis kills cancer cells and dramatically reduces the growth of new brain cancer...

Discover Why Honey Is Still The Best Antibiotic

Conventional antibiotics are over-prescribed and over-consumed. They are given out like parade candy, tossed out to anyone waving their hands. 2010 data obtained by...

‘Fake news, military budget, trade deals’: Trump speaks at CPAC

President Donald Trump intends to keep his promises to the American people, from securing the border and fighting terrorism, to rebuilding US industry and...