The American Automobile Association (“AAA”) released results of a study this week regarding the perceptions of marijuana use while driving. AAA surveyed 2,582 drivers and found more than 13% thought driving while high on marijuana was “only slightly dangerous” or “not dangerous at all” compared to driving while drunk, drowsy or impaired by prescription drugs. Among those surveyed, 70% said the odds of getting caught by police if you drive within an hour of consuming marijuana are low.
The study also revealed that nearly 15 million Americans admitted to driving within an hour of consuming marijuana, the AAA reported. Impairment from marijuana typically occurs quickly — within the first one to four hours of using the drug, AAA researchers said, adding that driving while stoned doubles the risk of a car crash.
This study comes on the heels of the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Illinois. Illinois Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law last week which will make marijuana legal in the state starting on January 1, 2020.
The question that many Illinois law enforcement agencies are now facing is how to deal with drivers who may be impaired while under the influence of marijuana. Unlike alcohol, there is no roadside breathalyzer that will detect marijuana use. Further, if the driver is detained and or arrested for erratic driving and then has their blood tested while in custody, there is no way to time stamp when the marijuana entered the driver’s system. Marijuana has been known to stay in a driver’s system for up to thirty (30) days, depending on frequency of use. Law enforcement will be tasked with this issue going forward and anticipate writing about this a lot in future once marijuana becomes legal and law enforcement agencies start announcing ways to deal with drivers who may be under the influence.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.