Does Marijuana Affect Driving Abilities?

Marijuana may not have the same impairment affect on drivers as alcohol

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Research may support the theory that stoned drivers are neither reckless risk-takers nor speedy bandits, but who is giving out this information and why? The road is no place to take any chances with any substance.

Looking at statistics since 1983 from transportation agencies all over the world is claiming that ‘Marijuana Users Are Safe Drivers’.

Traffic fatalities are actually lowering in states that have medicinal marijuana; therefore it must be because the roads are full of stoned drivers making the streets safe for all?

"Driving is dangerous: pay full, sober attention at all times!" is an online vehicle insurance quoting service that takes your statistics and finds several options for insurance providers for you. In a recent article posted on their website compiled a bunch of statistics to talk about the facts when it comes to stoned driving.

The only problem here is the bias of a company involved with insurance quotes. It is in their favor for insurance companies to lower the penalty rates for traffic violations connected with marijuana.

So, yes they can publish the “Top 10 Reasons Marijuana Users are Safe Drivers”, by pulling only the data from international studies that supports their claim and leave out anything else.

Their big argument is that stoned drivers are safer than drunk drivers, and this may be statistically accurate; however, does this make the statement “Marijuana Users are Safe Drivers” true?

States like Montana and Colorado, where medicinal marijuana is legal, have reported a significant 9% drop in driving deaths. While also adding that even beer sales have dropped 5% since the legalization of medicinal marijuana.

But, are those the only factors involved?

Col. Michael Tooley, chief of the Montana Highway Patrol, opinions that rises in gas prices, seat belt campaigns and increased MHP presence is what contributed to the drop in deaths.

The study that is referencing comes from economics professor Daniel Rees Ph.D., at the University of Colorado and economics professor D. Mark Anderson Ph.D., from Montana State University.

The study doesn’t actually state that traffic fatalities drop when marijuana is legalized, and has not been peer-reviewed. It does suggest that people are more likely to stay home and not drive anywhere if they get stoned and that could contribute to fewer deaths on the road.

The reasoning behind the unimpaired stoned driver hypothesis is that marijuana makes people drive slow, take few risks, rarely pass other cars and are more likely to follow other cars at appropriate driving distances. These behaviors are in comparison to drunk drivers not sober drivers.

When it comes to driving, there is sober and impaired. Any variation is some degree of under the influence.

This article “Reasons Why Marijuana Users Are Safe Drivers” was compiled by the online vehicle insurance quote agency No financial information was given.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 9, 2012
Last Updated:
February 27, 2013