MARIJUANA IMPAIRMENT AND DRIVING:
Impairment Effects: Marijuana can slow reaction time, impair judgment of time and distance, and decrease motor coordination. Drivers who have used marijuana are more likely to be involved in accidents.
Combination with Alcohol: When marijuana is combined with alcohol, the risk of a car accident can increase significantly more than using either substance alone.
Detection: Unlike alcohol, the presence of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in the blood does not correlate directly with driver impairment. THC can be detected in body fluids for days or even weeks after intoxication.
Legal Consequences: Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in all states, even those where recreational use of marijuana is legal. Penalties can include fines, loss of license, and even jail time.
Public Perception: According to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an estimated 14.8 million drivers report getting behind the wheel within one hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days
Fatal Crashes: The percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana has doubled from 8% in 2013 to 17% in 2014, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Age Factor: The prevalence of driving under the influence of marijuana is highest among young adults aged 21-25 years, followed by teenagers aged 16-20 years. This suggests a need for targeted interventions and education among these age groups.
Cannabis and Crashes: Cannabis is the illicit drug most frequently found in the blood of drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes, including fatal ones.
Impaired Multitasking: Marijuana use can make it difficult to multitask, a critical skill needed when driving. This is because it affects areas of the brain that control your body's movements, balance, coordination, memory, and judgment.
Legal Drugs: It's important to note that driving while impaired by any substance-legal or illegal-puts you and others in harm's way. This includes marijuana, even if it's legal in your state.
In Arizona, Proposition 207, which was passed by 60% of voters, legalized recreational weed but clearly states that using or consuming marijuana is illegal while driving, flying, or boating.
In Arizona, as in all states, driving impaired by any substance - alcohol or other drugs, whether legal or illegal - is against the law.
There is a need for increased public awareness about the dangers of marijuana-impaired driving in Arizona, especially given the recent legalization of recreational marijuana.
Arizona law enforcement agencies are trained to detect impairment from marijuana use in drivers. This includes observing driving behavior, physical signs of impairment, and field sobriety tests.
Unlike alcohol, there is no agreed-upon limit for marijuana impairment in Arizona. This makes it more challenging for law enforcement to determine if a driver is impaired solely from marijuana use.