Study: Growing misconception about driving while high on marijuana

Jun 24, 2019


A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found there is a growing misconception about the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana. 

The study found that nearly 15 million drivers reported getting behind the wheel within one hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days, despite the fact that a marijuana high lasts typically 2-3 hours, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

While less than one percent of the population thinks that drinking and driving is acceptable, nearly seven percent of Americans think that driving high is no big deal. Lieutenant Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police department says, those people are mistaken.

“Unfortunately, there is a misconception out there that marijuana is the new wonder drug, so to speak,” Shaw said. “It affects you the same way that alcohol does, it messes with your cognitive skills, it plays on your thought process, so a lot of the indicators for alcohol is still there with marijuana.”

Another large misconception according to the survey found that 70% of Americans think it’s unlikely a driver will get caught by police for driving under the influence of pot. Lt. Shaw, says, wrong again.

“We’ve been arresting people…for quite a long time,” Shaw said. “In fact, we have seen a five-year uptick in the amount of arrests of people for driving under the influence of marijuana.”

Shaw added that just because Michigan voters decriminalized marijuana last November, does not mean it is safe to use while driving a car.