JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new study from AAA finds nearly 15 million Americans drive while high on marijuana.
This comes as the city of Jacksonville considers a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. The report studied 2,500 licensed drivers over the age of 16 who reported driving in the past 30 days. It found the impairing effects of marijuana are usually experienced within the first one to four hours after using the drug.
The findings also revealed that nearly 70% of Americans feel like it’s unlikely that people who drive high will be caught by police. But News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson disagrees, saying law enforcement officers will pick up on drivers who appear to be impaired.
“Your reaction time is much slower when you involve drugs in your system, specifically marijuana. You’re just not 100%. You might be 30% to 40% compared to how you would be if you were not using marijuana and driving," Jefferson said.
In the AAA Foundation survey, 7% of Americans said they approve of driving after recently using marijuana. That's more than other dangerous behaviors like alcohol-impaired driving (1.6%), drowsy driving (1.7%) and prescription drug-impaired driving (3%).
Other survey findings show that:
- Millennials (nearly 14%) are most likely to report driving within one hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days, followed by Generation Z (10%).
- Men (8%) are more likely than women (5%) to report driving shortly after using marijuana in the past 30 days.
- The study says marijuana users who drive high are twice as likely to be involved in a crash.
AAA said law enforcement is getting more sophisticated in their methods of identifying drug-impaired drivers. According to AAA, there are programs around the country to train law enforcement officers to more effectively recognize drug-impaired driving.
The study found the number of trained Drug Recognition Experts has increased by 30% since 2013.
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