Nearly 15 million drivers admit to getting behind the wheel within one hour after smoking marijuana according to a new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey.
According to AAA, marijuana will leave you impaired within the first one to four hours after using the drug. Researchers also found marijuana users who drive while they are high are up to twice as likely to be involved in a crash. Some people tell 44News these statistics are not exactly surprising.
“Being marijuana is no different from being alcohol. You know, I’m an advocate. I don’t drink and drive I don’t drink and ride,” says Jason Gaddis, driver, and motorcyclist.
A driving instructor says bad driving habits such as texting while driving could also be a contributing factor to an uptick in accidents.
“Driving bad habits on top of smoking marijuana is when I feel like the reaction time is going to be slower and then that’s what’s going to cause the problems,” says Ryan Reiter, Top Choice Driving School owner, and instructor.
One driver says impaired driving can cause a lot of damage and he’s seen the devastation first hand.
“It’s something that’s very important to me. I’ve lost family members and friends with drunk drivers, but people have a misconception that ‘oh it’s just weed or it’s just a couple drinks,'” says Gaddis. “If your thinking is impaired either way it’s wrong.”
Nearly 70% of Americans think they can drive while being high without getting caught, millennials being the most guilty. Which is why one tri-state instructor makes sure to tell his students not to do something they would hate to explain to their parents, especially if they were to get into a car crash.
“You know if they find out that you were under the influence of marijuana or drinking the penalty will be stricter,” says Reiter.
Here in the tri-state, the penalties for driving under the influence of a controlled substance can be as steep as three years in prison with a $10,000 fine.