April 4, 2021
AAA is warning drivers of the harmful impact marijuana can have behind the wheel.
Even though marijuana may now be legal here in New York, that doesn’t mean that driving under the influence of it is. AAA says that whether you smoke, vape, or take an edible, THC possesses a serious risk to your safe driving skills.
Since Washington state legalized it in 2012, the number of drivers who tested positive for THC after a fatal car crash has doubled. Marijuana is the second most commonly found drug in drivers who have been involved in collisions.
Alcohol is the first, but unlike alcohol, there is no test for impaired drivers who may have their judgment compromised by THC.
“There’s an oral fluid test that tells if there is marijuana in the system, it just doesn’t tell what that active level of THC is. So it could be that someone smokes marijuana every day and it’s just in their system, but maybe they didn’t smoke any today when they got behind the wheel or maybe it’s someone who just smoked marijuana for the first time. It’s really hard to tell. There’s no way to know with this oral fluid. So you can’t do a breathalyzer or an oral fluid test on the side of the road to measure that THC,” says Elizabeth Carey, AAA Western and Central New York public relations director.
Though some may say they are more focused drivers while under the influence, Carey says research does not agree with that.
Marijuana slows reaction times and impairs judgment, affecting how you react behind the wheel.