Many people wonder if drunk driving or high driving is worse. Turns out some people do both. According to a recent study, a third of drivers who consume alcohol and marijuana at the same time admit to driving within two hours of doing so. This is problematic since research indicates that combining alcohol and marijuana affects driving performance more than either drug alone.
In contrast to the 7 out of 10 drivers who reported drinking in the past year, just 1 out of 10 drivers surveyed by the IIHS admitted to using alcohol and marijuana concurrently. But of those who used marijuana and alcohol together, 33% admitted to doing so within two hours of getting behind the wheel.
“Alcohol impairment is associated with almost 30 percent of the fatalities on our roadways, and we have made very little progress to reduce this toll over the past three decades. Now we are adding another impairing substance to the mix,” says IIHS President David Harkey. “Policymakers, law enforcement, safety professionals, and others will need to work together and implement multiple solutions to save the thousands of lives cut short every year by impaired driving in the United States.”
Drunk Driving or High Driving or Both
According to experimental investigations, driving performance is worsened more when using alcohol and marijuana together than when using either substance alone. Only when marijuana was mixed with alcohol did an earlier IIHS research of patients who were treated in a hospital emergency department as a result of a car accident reveals an elevated crash risk associated with marijuana.
Young people are more likely to drive or engage in other risky behavior after using both drugs than after using marijuana alone, according to recent studies. But even if legalization is linked to an increase in the proportion of people who occasionally drink alcohol and occasionally use marijuana, it’s not obvious from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health how frequently people are doing so at the same time.
Drunk Driving or High Driving is Unsafe
The recent trend of legalizing marijuana for recreational use has led to an increase in arrests for impaired driving or DUI. Dr. Godfrey Pearlson, medical director of the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at the Institute of Living, part of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, asserted that “stoned driving” is just as risky as drunk driving, albeit being less lethal right now. Many people are unaware of this and mistakenly believe that it is safe to drive when high on cannabis, which is inaccurate.
Dr. Pearlson says that while the likelihood of being in a car accident when “stoned” is around double that of sober driving, it is still substantially lower than the 10 to 15-fold increase that occurs when a driver has a blood alcohol content of about 0.1. But doing both is much worse than drunk driving or high driving.
Drunk driving or high driving – or both – is reckless and dangerous behavior. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving drunk driving or high driving, call 866-730-3508 for a free consultation with an Orlando car accident attorney at the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm. Convenient locations throughout Central Florida