If you think driving high is dangerous, then you are among minority in America, according to a Gallup poll. Additionally, of those polled 70 percent said they felt people who drive impaired by marijuana (DUID) are “not much of a problem,” while only 29 respondents said they thought it was a serious problem.
Oddly enough, nearly 80 percent of Americans polled said they felt drivers impaired by alcohol were a serious danger to the public. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the later poll had a very correct assumption, because in 2013 alcohol accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents.
Top 10 Reasons Driving High is Dangerous
We know without reservation that driving while high on marijuana is impaired driving (DUID). However, economist Benjamin Hansen of the University of Oregon and National Bureau of Economics Research says there is currently no data to support the that marijuana has increased traffic accidents. But, even Hansen says it’s better to drive sober than stoned. The following are facts, statistics or data that detail the dangers of driving impaired while high on marijuana:1
- In 1995, researchers at the International Conference of Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety who reviewed 60 studies on marijuana’s effects on the human body concluded that marijuana impairs all cognitive abilities needed to drive safely.
- Marijuana impairs your ability to track normal traffic flow.
- Marijuana impairs your motor coordination, which is necessary for steering, accelerating, and decelerating.
- Marijuana impairs your visual acuity, which could hinder your ability to avert objects in the road or vehicles that stop too fast right in front of you.
- Marijuana impairs your ability to pay attention to driving, traffic signals and signs, and traffic flow.
- Those who have used marijuana may overestimate their impairment, which could result in over-correcting on steering or even speed limits.
- Researchers found that most people often consume marijuana and alcohol at the same time, which gives their impairment an additive or compounded effect.
- Marijuana impairs your judgement, so someone who gets high and drives might conclude that they can drive well while high, when in fact they cannot.
- Marijuana impairs your spatial sense, so things may be further away or closer than they might normally appear. So, for instance, stoned drivers might follow cars ahead of them too closely.
- Marijuana also impairs your perception, which could lead to making unsafe lane changes or turns.
What Should You Do If You Are Pulled Over with Marijuana?
People who ingest higher amounts of marijuana will become more impaired, and will take bigger risks just the same as those who are drunk driving from alcohol. Currently, there’s no known accurate method for measuring the THC level by using breathalyzers. Similarly, there are currently no set limits in most states for a legal limit on the amount of THC found in someone’s system. In Colorado, the legal limit of TCH in the system is 5 micrograms. Marijuana is still considered an illegal substance by the federal government and many states, which could lead to higher penalties and sentencing – depending on where the defendant is charged. The following is a list of rights you have that you should keep in mind, if you are engaged by a traffic officer:
- As a license holder, you have implied consent, which means you agreed to give a breath, blood, or urine tests, if an officer suspects you are impaired.
- You are under no obligation to perform a field sobriety test, which was designed specifically for alcohol, not marijuana.
- The smell of marijuana alone in your car does not give an officer probable cause to search your vehicle.
- A traffic officer can ask you to step out of your car and frisk you. However, they can’t pull anything out of your clothing that doesn’t feel like a weapon. Stand your ground here. If you have a pipe in your pocket and they say they think it’s a knife or a gun, stand firm and refuse to pull it out.
- This is when it’s important to know your right to remain silent.
- If you were pulled over for a minor traffic violation, like forgetting to turn on a blinker to signal a turn – this does not give them probable cause to search your trunk or glovebox.
- If you are a passenger, be sure if you are asked to step out of the car to refuse to let them search your purse or personage. If you leave an article of clothing or purse in the vehicle, the police can search it.
Contact a Broomfield DUI Attorney at The Datz Law Firm
Did you get pulled over and illegally searched and have personal items seized to be used against you in the court of law? If so, the Broomfield DUI Attorney at The Datz Law Firm is knowledgeable and tenacious in litigating wrongful search and seizure cases. Let our Broomfield DUI attorney do the leg work of building the strongest case possible, so you can get back to your life. If we can’t get charges dismissed, we’ll certainly strive to get you the justice you deserve.
As former district attorneys, our Broomfield legal experts know how prosecutors build and present their cases, which makes us effective at countering with a strong defense and challenging prosecutors when there is ever an illegal search performed.
We can set up a free, initial consultation to discuss your options for defending yourself against DUID charges. To schedule an appointment, call us at (720) 256-2404, or email us using the contact form at the top of this page. We have a Broomfield office, but we also represent clients throughout the state of Colorado.
1“Driving with a Marijuana High: How Dangerous Is It?” published in Live Science, July 2015.