The Great Marijuana Myth: Is Driving High Dangerous?

A recent study finds that drivers who smoke marijuana within a few hours of driving are more likely to get into an accident than sober drivers. Find out how much more.

Marijuana plant

Last week, the British Medical Journal published a study about the effects of smoking cannabis (aka marijuana, pot, weed, Mary Jane) on driving ability. Researchers at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, analyzed 9 prior studies and concluded that — contrary to most pot smokers’ beliefs — driving high leads to a higher risk of car accidents.

Now, before we go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room: pot is illegal in most states. But (as we know) people smoke it regardless of what the law says. However, no matter what folks tell you, driving under the influence of any controlled substance is illegal and dangerous.

We could write endlessly about reckless driving — drinking, using a cellphone, and even driving tired all put you and others at risk — but for our purposes today, let’s focus on Dalhousie’s study and the specific dangers of smoking pot and driving.

Weed and driving effects

Turns out, drivers who smoke marijuana within a few hours of driving are almost twice as likely to get into an accident as sober drivers. And though the accident stats aren’t as bad as they are for drinking and driving, the risk is palpable.

While alcohol is still the most common accident-inducing substance, a recent survey quoted on the National Institute of Drug Abuse’s Web site found that 6.8 percent of drivers who were involved in accidents — most of whom were under 35 — tested positive for THC (the chemical found in marijuana).

Smoking weed and driving laws

Unlike testing for alcohol levels, researchers and law enforcement officials have not yet determined how to accurately test for levels of marijuana intoxication. Many states, however, have begun to take a hard line on this public safety issue and police officers are now being trained to detect signs of marijuana intoxication. And make no mistake about it: driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs — including legal-use marijuana — is illegal in all states.

Get a breakdown of drugged driving laws here.

The great marijuana myth

It’s possible you’ve heard a pot aficionado state:  “I’m a better driver when I’m stoned.” Not true. A major issue with drugged driving is that when you’re high (well, not you specifically, we know you’d never do that), you don’t always realize that your judgment is impaired. This is especially true for teenagers who are already at-risk drivers. Couple this with a few hits of ganja, and the buzz can become, well, killer.

Though it varies by person, it generally takes at least 3–4 hours to come down from a high. No amount of strong coffee or greasy food is going to sober you up faster.

Drinking and driving vs. smoking weed and driving

Most of us grew up hearing “don’t drink and drive,” but not nearly as much effort was put into preventing the combination of smoking pot and driving. Yet marijuana affects reaction time, spatial sense, and perception — all of which are crucial to safe driving. So when a person is driving high, they may end up following another car too closely (and brake too late), make unsafe turns, or misjudge road hazards.

The fact remains: weed and driving don’t mix

In the coming years, we may see a move toward the legalization of pot. But no matter where you stand on the issue — “a need for weed” or “not for pot” — we should all be on the same page when it comes to designating a driver who abstains from ALL mind-altering substances (legal or not).

If you’re into graphs and footnotes, you can read the whole British Medical Journal study here.

Related links

Driving on drugs: stats and facts
National Institute of Drug Abuse article on drugged driving
National Institute of Drug Abuse research report on marijuana abuse
CNN reports marijuana nearly doubles the risk of collisions
Dalhousie University report

321 Responses to “The Great Marijuana Myth: Is Driving High Dangerous?”

  1. Russell
    March 31, 2013 #

    Are you serious, please tell me that there was no money spent on this sudy,
    If there was,i want to meet the idiot that authorized it

    • lee will
      June 27, 2013 #

      No cares what you think. EVER!

    • DopeDo
      August 4, 2013 #

      Its a proven fact that if you smoke a joint and drink a martini at the same time, you are guaranteed to never have an acid dent.

      • Dee
        August 30, 2013 #

        Really that doesn't even make sense a little bit. Want to see that Proven fact.

    • d.
      August 17, 2013 #

      You were high when you tried typing, weren't you Russ.

    • Katie
      August 20, 2013 #

      I've been there with smoking pot and then driving. It DOES impair your driving skills,
      especially with slow reaction times. I about ran my car into a lagoon when I was young, stupid, and smoking pot.

      • Rational Thinker
        August 22, 2013 #

        Key words…young and stupid…not smoking pot and driving.

      • esoghewgthq1
        August 23, 2013 #

        "when I was YOUNG and STUPID and smoking pot".

        Tada!

  2. Mike
    April 2, 2013 #

    I would just like to throw out here for everyone that if I had a choice of people that I had to drive next to on any given day:
    A) somone texting/cell phone use
    B) somone eating
    C) somone drunk
    D) somone stoned
    My opinion: I feel under the circumstances given out of the four drivers, a person stoned is not as dangerous as the other drivers. I feel this is a lost argument because unless they are distracted rolling/packing their weed up, or removing their hands to actually smoke it then they are typically paying attention driving slower than the speed limit. Hate on it but this is a stupid post because there are bigger issues then weed. Weed is illegal though, it's a totally biased argument.

    • Peggy
      April 6, 2013 #

      Mike, I think I'll have to agree with you here! Also, doesn't it seem strange to you that in spite of the fact that alcohol abuse kills so many people in a variety of ways (including those who do not drink) and marijuana is so much safer, alcohol use is legal and marijuana use is not!? It kills me that our government strenuously puts down their foot at legalizing pot and makes all sorts of excuses for allowing alcohol consumption to go on unabated…seriously twisted!!

      • sonya
        June 13, 2013 #

        I agree alcohol and cigarettes are known killers and secondhand smoke from cigarettes kill hundreds of people daily and they dont even smoke! So really this world is so backwards!

      • Jason
        September 16, 2013 #

        Interesting….unless you grow your own pot most of it still reaches Americans from Mexico. Where government officials, cops, federal agents are murdered regularly to further the drug trade and the same violence spills into America because people want to detach themselves from reality and make others work harder. Never seen a stoner accomplish anything fast…except bitching about weed. If its made legal its still stupid to think that driving on it is wise….

      • Jason
        September 16, 2013 #

        Alcohol "was" illegal…….Americans got what they wanted though

    • Bob
      April 25, 2013 #

      Mike ,,I think if I had my choice of driver next to me ,it would be someone sober ,not high ,not eating ,not texting ,not using cellphone,,.It's not good to rationalize bad behavior with other bad behavior,,driving is a privilege,,not a right ,,our right is to expect
      to be as safe as possible in the road ……just my two cents

      • dave
        August 30, 2013 #

        i believe the point Mike was making (and i wholeheartedly agree) is that texting, eating, etc is exceedingly dangerous and is given a slap on the wrist at worst. I am a motorcycle rider and have nearly lost my life to too many texters, coffee drinkers, laptop operators, submarine sandwich-eaters etc…bottom line, if your mind is altered AND you are paying attention you are a much better driver than a texter who is paying more attention to his/her phone. although NEITHER is excusable.

      • Dru
        September 17, 2013 #

        I would like to know why driving was made a privilege and not a right ? How do you except people that don't live in cities without public transport to get around and because the government needs a way of controlling / punishing you

      • Jack
        September 18, 2013 #

        So… an elderly driver. A grey assassin. Sober, attentive, not speeding. This is who you want next to you because everyone else is listening to music while thinking about their day and lighting a smoke and trying to make it through the yellow light. EVERYONE ELSE…

      • Liza
        September 20, 2013 #

        It SHOULD be a privilege not a right. If you cannot abide by the rules of the road, then you should not be allowed on it. It is something you EARN and not be GIVEN to you. Flying planes isn't a right, driving semi-trucks isn't a right. It requires education and knowledge. So why should something as dangerous as a car in the hands of irresponsible driver be a right? Make sure you are well versed in pedestrian rules because contrary to popular belief, a pedestrian may or may NOT have the right of way.

    • Let it grow
      May 4, 2013 #

      When I was 17 in high school (21 years ago), driving while high was like playing video games. Hills seemed steeper, stop lights seemed further down the road, shadows at night would play tricks on the mind… As I got older and more tolerant of THC, those tunnel vision type experiences went away. But every now and then I'll forget where I'm going for a moment. That's about it. Never an accident, always seem to be more cautious and less aggressive. I say "seem", cause in reality I'm paranoid and those paranoid feelings fuel my desire to focus more on driving. When I'm sober I drive fast, cut ppl off more frequently and for lack of a better term an a$$ h0!3 on the road. I do not believe pot is for everyone, but those who have grown up with it like I have know the absolute truth about what can and cannot happen while stoned. A better use of time would be spent researching the benefits of pot and ways to integrate it with society that doesn't keep the public misinformed.

      • Royce
        May 13, 2013 #

        Exactly…..you said what I think..

      • Lukewaxer
        May 13, 2013 #

        Yeah, when I was in high school, the pot would make me an unsafe driver. (And that was with bad pot!) It would invade my brain and cause a general slowdown in all thought processes.
        But now, thirty years later, I am a legal card holding medical patient and wish I still had that reaction from the pot. I smoke all the time. yet I hardly ever get stoned now. All the wonderful new strains of medical MJ just make me pleasant and hard to get out of the couch. I can talk and carry on conversations, I can cook without cutting myself, run all the small tools without endangering my fingers and process photoshop for my job.

        But a bad driver? I really don't think so. I am more relaxed and much less aggresive when medicated!
        When I am not medicated, I yell and scream at the other drivers, I get extremely agitated and drive much more aggresively! Tailgating, passing, daring other drivers to get too close.

        On the whole, I think I am a less safe driver when I am NOT medicated as opposed to when I am.
        But all this is just my reactions and opinions, yours may vary.

      • Heatin7
        May 29, 2013 #

        @letitgrow, I do the same thing all the time, when I'm sober driving I'm a maniac on the floor, but smoke a blunt and than drive, may grannys be passing me on the road… Great post!

      • Jason
        September 16, 2013 #

        Regular marijuana users build thc in their system over time till it gets to a point where sobriety is never achieved without long term detox. The cutting people off and bad driving can be attributed to anxiety at not currently being high

      • Veronica
        September 18, 2013 #

        Heatin7 I do believe you are trying to rationalize what Let it Grow said(which was a very well put and valid argument) because you are so against marijuana that you would do or say anything to make it seem like it's a bad thing. I partake in the use of marijuana and I can honestly say I don't get mad or aggravated just because I haven't smoked. It's close minded people like you that have to turn everything into a negative. But I bet you are perfectly fine with alcohol which is way worse for you and does damage to your body every time you drink it. You can ask almost any doctor that has had to deal with someone who has cancer, glaucoma, or any other disease that is very painful and they will tell you that medical marijuana use is one of the best things for the people who have to live with ever day pain and don't want to get addicted to pills i.e Vicodin(another really bad thing for your body after a time). As a matter of fact most doctors recommend medical marijuana use to patients with major pain problems. They don't like prescribing pills because a lot of people become addicted and rely on them even after they are no longer needed. How about you think about all this for a second and then repost your opinion if you still think you are right.

      • DudeGuy
        September 18, 2013 #

        Really, thats funny, because they have been trying ot tell us that weed has become more potent over time, but from what you are saying that can't be possible.

        Sounds to me like you took some shrooms unknowingly.

    • Sammie Jo
      May 14, 2013 #

      Back in the day, I drove stoned a few times, once a friend and I were on our way to Port Aransas for the day, we had both been smoking, and she said to me, "do you think you want to go a little faster than 25mph?"
      After that, I didn't drive stoned, not only do I drive like a snail, but I get all paranoid that everyone else knows I smoked. lol
      Stoned drivers are not aggressive drivers UNLESS they are mixing smoke with another substance, that's when the trouble starts.

    • Quennel
      June 30, 2013 #

      I smoke kush daily and drive daily with no problems.. And to the person who said driving is a privilege ugh no its not a privelege.. Its our right to travel by any means necessary…. Real weed smokers know that weed doesn't hinder your ability it actually makes you more aware….

    • Derek
      July 26, 2013 #

      I can't help but notice the person that always disagrees with these studies is the person that smokes pot. Of course you'd rather drive next to a stoned person, because I guarantee that you smoke pot. Thus, you won't accept any study that says it's bad for you, or the people around you. On the rare occasion you concede a point, it's always with the caveat that something else is worse.

      Grow up. Weed is not good for you, or people around you. Period. IT IS DANGEROUS to operate a vehicle under the influence.

      • GuyWithTroll
        July 26, 2013 #

        You guys can't ever make a logical argument, which is why you always resort to "you're a stoner so you would say that". Never do you address the facts that contradict you…this study doesn't in any way prove marijuana is bad for you. It proves that 6.8% of a crash test group had smoked at some point in the month before their accident.

      • travis
        July 28, 2013 #

        Driving while stupid is the bigger problem and the real issue, yet they don't test for that. So when you combine stupid with any intoxicant the effects are magnified. I would rather campaign against driving while stupid. Or you can keep demonizing a plant.

      • AReal Individual
        August 1, 2013 #

        I dont think u know anyrhing about smoke.
        U think its a drug that does bad things to one.
        Well in all actuallity its not a drug, its not harmful
        and it smells good! Try it sometime your opinion might sway if u puff puff pass!

      • Craig Davis
        August 14, 2013 #

        and those that agree with the study
        have obviously never smoked……..
        you need to grow up and stay away from subjects you know nothing about.

      • Dee
        August 30, 2013 #

        I agree with You Derek.

      • Kevin
        October 13, 2013 #

        Sanjay gupta doesn't smoke! Next? Safer than aspirin!!

    • Steven
      August 23, 2013 #

      I've driven and smoked weed thousands of times. No accidents or tickets ever, it all depends on who is driving.

    • Victoria Krueger Cole
      September 5, 2013 #

      Thank you! As a seasoned smoker, I have an excellent driving record.

      • Jack
        September 18, 2013 #

        Agreed! Old head here… clean driving and arrest record. Never spent a day in jail. Only accident I was ever in was caused by no morning coffee.

  3. Free 2 choose
    April 2, 2013 #

    All things considered, the article is informative while the study is clearly and irrefutably bias, the fact remains that it was produced, published and distributed with the full support of those whom would benefit from our acceptance of it's validity. So choose what your own sovereign self has determined to possess elemental truths.

  4. me
    April 6, 2013 #

    Yea I would have to disagree, I drive a spreader, forklift, motorcycle, semi and etc….in fact my Job is to be a driver, I drive all day everyday and guess what!! I'm blazed out of my mind the entire time…NEVER been in an accident in my life. I'm way more cautious and careful and pay attention to detail more. This was a completely biased report, obviously the woman who wrote this isn't a toker..if I smoked today and got in an accident tomorrow I'd prlly have thc in me, doesn't mean I got in an accident because I was stoned.

    • Royce
      May 13, 2013 #

      Could not of said it better.lol

    • me
      June 5, 2013 #

      These comments prove nothing. People who have been in accidents when stoned arent going to admit to it here (or are dead). Obviously we will only hear from the ones (by luck) who have not been in accidents.

      Please stay off the road while stoned. And if you drive worse when sober … just don't drive at all. I don't want you to kill me or my family … or anyone else for that matter.

      • bigbertha
        July 6, 2013 #

        6.8 percent of drivers involved in accidents had THC in their system… and yet THC can stay in your system for 30-45 days. This article says nothing about intoxication. Could it be possible that there is absolutely no correlation between marijuana use and accidents and it just means that 6.8 percent of people have used cannabis within the past month? It's about time we moved past puritanical moral absolutism and find out how cannabis actually affects people rather than relying on dubious correlations, abstinence speeches, and 1930's gutter science.

      • Jack
        September 18, 2013 #

        OK… but if you're 40 and have been smoking since your teen years and have only ever been in one accident? One accident that was caused largely by two factors, 50% no coffee and 50% big raccoon? I'll never get the against argument because my life experiences all point to the obvious… marijuana is no more harmful than breathing air.

    • Derek
      July 26, 2013 #

      So you agree that people killed while drunk isn't because they are drunk then…

      It's amazing how many pot smokers think that one form of high is "safer" than another.

      • Seriously
        July 26, 2013 #

        We know that alcohol causes all sort of social and domestic problems, injuries, direct and indirect deaths whether by accident, over-intoxication, or liver disease. Marijuana, on the other hand, is only suggested by some people (like the misinterpretation of this study) to be dangerous occasionally.

        Also, Anheuser Busch is the single largest lobbyist against against marijuana legalization. You figure it out!

      • seven7
        July 28, 2013 #

        There is no question that alcohol is much more dangerous than pot and anyone that doesn't know that is seriously mis-informed!

      • Jack
        September 18, 2013 #

        I don't see anyone saying any such thing… You should probably avoid discussing things you have no knowledge about.

  5. Dennis
    April 8, 2013 #

    Impaired and, or distracted driving puts everyone at risk. When we drive, we are on the road with everyone else. We all share the risks of eveyone's decisions as a whole. I like to treat others as I would hope to be treated. Thanks for minimizing the risks everyone!

    • Kristin
      July 11, 2013 #

      Yes, I agree that a lot of people on here are minimizing the risks of driving while stoned, not to mentioned drunk, using a cell phone etc. The only 100% safe way to drive is with no substances in the body, rested and not using any hand held device. I agree that driving is a privelege and doing any of the things above abuse that privelege and put yourself and others at risk. Period.

  6. random stoner
    April 10, 2013 #

    As a "pothead" I've learned these past 15 years weed does affect judgement. To say otherwise is naive. If emotions do why wouldn't a drug? With that being said I still believe it should be legal. Regardless of any fact presented common sense will tell you its safer than liqour, beer, or presription medicines. If these are legal marijuana should be as well. I've never heard a case of someone getting their stomach pumped from smoking too much pot, but its an all to common story for alcohol or presription medicines playing out everyday. I believe our government has a lot more serious issues to worry about than some "budz". Like the heroin epidemic or molly craze for example. How about we focus on those since they are killing the youth

    • Daisy
      April 11, 2013 #

      Thanks for your honesty. Of course smoking marijuana affects judgement. Anything that alters the mind affects judgement. And driving while judgment is impaired is deleterious. Period.

      Decriminalizing drug use doesn't mean that we need to make a case that using drugs is consequence free. Ways and means will need to be created to identify drug impaired driving (in much the same way as has been done to determine the all popular drug alcohol's ability to impair driving) and then appropriate laws made and enacted to ensure that driving while impaired by any drug has legal consequences.

      When pot heads insist that their ability to drive is enhanced by their drug of choice (along w/other reckless claims) it just degrades any argument for decriminalization.

    • Hippie Chik
      August 4, 2013 #

      Right on, Random Stoner! I couldn't agree more! :-)

  7. GreenAndShoes
    April 12, 2013 #

    As a daily pot smoker, I agree smoking marijuana will alter your perception, reaction time, emotional demeanor, and hand-eye coordination.

    However, in order to reach the point where these become a serious health risk to people on the roadways, this requires a serious amount of cannibis intake. Most people that stoned aren't going to be doing anything but couch surfing.

    With no statistics comparing the amount of marijuana-related accidents to alcohol, texting, eating, messing with the radio, trying to put on make up, change clothing, etc. This is only a biased argument with no actual data to back up the claims.

    An easy google/bing search reveals marijuana is the least of your worries while on the roadway.

    Rubbernecking: Drivers slowing down their cars to watch what is going on
    Cell phones: Drivers using their commute time to make phone calls
    Driver fatigue
    Passenger distractions
    Looking at scenery
    Adjusting the radio
    Drunk driving: It is estimated that every 30 minutes, a person dies in an alcohol-related crash
    Reckless drivers: Drivers who drive recklessly or unsafely cause accidents through their aggressive driving this may come as a result of improper or excessive lane changing, speeding, or improper passing on the road
    Automobile defects: A car accident may occur because of a defect in a driver's car in such a situation, the car manufacturer or supplier may be held liable
    Poorly maintained roads
    Malfunctioning traffic signals
    Other highway defects

    YES, marijuana impairs your motor skills, BUT compared to what?

    • Derek
      July 26, 2013 #

      Why would we "compare" the impairment to anything? We aren't being offered a choice in life, it's a statement on the dangers of pot while driving.

      Saying alcohol is worse (which is not a proven fact) doesn't make pot good.

      • IQ 173
        September 21, 2013 #

        Saying alcohol is worse (which is not a proven fact) doesn't make pot good.
        This is proof of your ignorance as alcohol has been proven to be more harmful. You my friend have a lot of research to catch up on. Please educate yourself before someone takes advantage of you.

  8. David
    April 12, 2013 #

    Comparing driving sober vs. any intoxicant of course the sober driver should be more capable. I am sure that there is a percentage of pot smokers that feel they drive better high than sober just like I am sure there are people who drink and drive and claim to not have an issue. I have done both and by far high is safer than drunk. That being said using that logic makes the argument for legalization of marijuana far more difficult. Legalize it don't criticize it.

  9. Jerome Garcia
    April 20, 2013 #

    Nicely written article, Jessica!

    Regardless of one's opinion on the use of marijuana, is hard to argue with the fact that it's a really good idea to NOT be operating heavy machinery while under the influence of a mind-altering substance.

    Personally I would love to see the pro-legalization community on their best behavior during this pivotal time in our nations history. Things are changing and the last thing that needs to happen is a surge of now-legally-high folks getting into auto accidents. That's not going to help anyone feel good about legalization.

    • D
      May 2, 2013 #

      Its been legal in LA since 1996 and there are over 1600 dispensaries in the city. Obviously 10s of thousands use the drug yet everyday to make the dispensaries profitable yet there has not been a surge of people wrecking their car while using it. This makes me skeptical of this article. The numbers just don't add up to it being dangerous. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if there were fewer people drinking and driving because now they can smoke instead. Just a theroy…like the claims in this article.

  10. Dave
    April 25, 2013 #

    What other substances were those involved in the accidents on? Was it weed only? Alcohol impairs one's judgment a lot more than weed.
    Delayed reaction time caused me to drive slower with more caution back in the day. Stats are handpicked here to benefit the insurance industry.

    • D
      May 2, 2013 #

      I completely agree. Also, what does it mean when they say it was found in their system? A heavy smoker could have it in them for weeks. And did the 6.8 percent cause the accident or were there other factors involved? What they should do is compare stats from legalized pot states to nonlegalized and see if there is a dramatic difference in the overall safety of driving on the roads in those places. If it was twice as likely for it to cause an accident it would likely be WAY more dangerous to drive in legalized cites.

      • Jack
        September 18, 2013 #

        Here's another thought… that 6.8% is pretty small. What were the other 93.2% doing? I'll bet 6.8% of car accidents are also caused by road head. Another 6.8% could easily be caused by gas cramps from too much Taco Bell. I know for a fact more than 10% are caused by deer crossing but I don't see anyone asking them to stay out of the road.

    • Derek
      July 26, 2013 #

      There are no stats to back up "Alcohol impairs one's judgement a lot more than weed."

      You're handpicking a result you want to be true.

      • matt
        August 11, 2013 #

        Really? How about number of accidents/death.

  11. EnglishCarInsurances
    April 26, 2013 #

    No one should drive under the influence of any drug and alcohol. Doing so is a total act of recklessness and end point.
    Here it does not matter if you like, if you do or not. What matters most is that it threatens life itself and others.

    • GuyWithTroll
      April 28, 2013 #

      No, it doesn't.

      I could make arguments and go in circles with you, but since you didn't provide any basis for your claims, there is nothing else to rebut.

      • Derek
        July 26, 2013 #

        No you couldn't, beyond perhaps the extremity of saying, "Total…"

        It is reckless to do drugs and drive, all you can really argue is the severity.

  12. meatman
    May 11, 2013 #

    Of those involved in an accident, 6.8 percent tested positive for THC..meaning 93.2 percent of those involved in accidents had no THC in system. According to those statistics alone marijuana users are far less likely to be involved in an accident than drivers who do not use marijuana. What about cause of accident, determining who was at fault, type of accident etc..shouldn't those be considered when trying to determine marijuana and its effect on driving? Simply testing positive for THC after an accident may often have no correlation to why and how an accident occurred.

    • Patrice
      July 4, 2013 #

      I like your name meat man and i agree with you, there are so many layers to this topic and saying that THC users are more like to get into an accident is just irresponsible on the writers part.

    • Derek
      July 26, 2013 #

      To counter your point, my wife has been in 3 accidents and never tested for weed. The reason the number is so skewed is the legality of alcohol vs. weed as well as the more prevalent field testing methods.

      Please don't get wrapped up in this idea that weed is way less responsible, as a reasonable person knows that driving while smoking marijuana isn't remotely better.

      • ThinkOutsideTheFox
        October 17, 2013 #

        Meatman makes a very good point. Of those involved in an accident and tested, only 6.8 percent tested positive. Now if they took a random sample of the total population of licenced drivers (not just those involved in an accident), the percent with THC in their system would be much higher than 6.8 percent. i.e. The percent of those involved in an accident that had THC in their system, is lower than the percent of people with THC in their system in the entire population of all licenced drivers. Looking at it from that prospective, one could come to a very different conclusion from what this article attempts to do. The truth is likely somewhere in between. Yes, it impairs, but unlike alcohol, the users are aware of their impairment, so they compensate for their imparment by driving more carefully than they otherwise would, and are therefore actually involved in less accidents than they would be if driving unimpaired.

  13. Cory Mangum
    May 20, 2013 #

    I believe anything that can distract a driver from the task at hand should be illegal. In my opinion, someone operating a vehicle while texting/talking on the cell phone is much more dangerous than someone high driving a vehicle. Since it is hard for police to identify someone who is high, I do not see any study on marijuana and driving having good data to base any conclusions on. Thoughts?

  14. Karl
    May 26, 2013 #

    I'm not going to advocate texting while driving, and of course it's disturbing to hear stories of the text message cut off by the sudden accident, but here's my problem with all the hoopla about texting being as or more dangerous than DWI:

    1. An intoxicated person is intoxicated continuously.Texting is comprised of periods of distractions.

    2. Texting while driving requires a great deal of experience and coordination to do it without an accident, and we all know some people are coordinated and others are not. But all intoxicated drivers lack coordination.

    3. If texting while driving is so dangerous, based on my on observation of how many people are doing it, where is the sudden explosion in accident rates? Why is drunk driving still the number 1 cause of distracted driving accidents? Why am I not seeing at least 300 accidents a day during my daily commute involving the 1 in 5 drivers I personally see texting behind the wheel?

    I'm sorry to disagree, but until someone can measure how often accidents happen from conversing with occupants, picking up baby's dropped bottle, lighting a cigarette, tuning a radio station, taking on a CB, Amateur Radio, or cell phone, or checking out the hot lady or guy in the other car ( which is how my son had his accident), I will not accept the claim that texting is as or more dangerous than being intoxicated!

  15. sonya
    June 13, 2013 #

    I say legalize marijuana and make cigarettes illegal!! How about that food for thought!!

    • Derek
      July 26, 2013 #

      It's not food for thought because while cigarettes should be illegal, the only argument you can make for legal marijuana is, "Because I want it."

      • Jack
        September 18, 2013 #

        Derek needs an education in marijuana. Have you seen that the most respected medical mind today did a complete flip flop on pot consumption? Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Check out the data then come back and blablabla.

  16. travis
    June 16, 2013 #

    Most dangerous person on the road is a stupid one. Unfortunateley they havent prohibited them from driving yet.

  17. Mark
    June 16, 2013 #

    When I was younger and got my driver,s license I would occasionally smoke weed. Whenever I drove under the influence I didn't have any difficulty handling the vehicle but I would frequently miss turns and have to double back to get where I wanted to go. It didn't take long to overcome that.

  18. rich
    June 19, 2013 #

    This article has no basis for reality. I race my motorcycle on THC and have never crashed even during stunting. If I can pull off 100's of mile long wheelies when I'm "high" what does that tell you? THC opens up your square mind and enables you to think clearer and more focused. That's the findings of my studies concluded at M.M.I in corporation with R.K.com and Yamaha ®. Think for yourselves don't let some girl make decisions you already know to be untrue

  19. wes
    June 20, 2013 #

    I'd like to go ahead and say that while high, I'm a MUCH more cautious driver, as well as more focused. Did the article state that marijuana can sometimes take up to 45 days to clear someone's system, meaning someone may test positive for marijuna, but smoked it 10, 15, 30 days ago?…food for thought

  20. frances
    June 21, 2013 #

    driving is a privilege. it is not a right. if anyone is stupid enough to use any drug and drive they deserve to face the consequences.

  21. Djhdjh
    June 25, 2013 #

    One of the few statistics quoted in the article says that 6.8 percent of drivers involved in accidents tested positive for THC. What it doesn't mention is that THC stays in your system for a much greater amount of time than the time you are impaired after using it, usually at least a few weeks. 6.8 percent of people under the age of 35 probably smoke often enough that, on any given day, they would test positive for it.

    So the one hard statistic in this article has a huge flaw. Don't know how much I can trust it.

  22. bob hubanks
    June 25, 2013 #

    People here really think driving high is ok?

    Thats scary.

    Smoke all the weed you want, buy DONT drive high! This is why it should be legal, so people could be more educated on how to smoke responsibly

    • Bob
      June 25, 2013 #

      Sorry, but you anti-pot guys are just plain wrong, just like the point they are trying to force with this "study".

      http://ezinearticles.com/?Does-Marijuana-Impair-Driving?&id=1550088

      "The U.S. Department of Transportation conducted research with a fully interactive simulator on the effects of alcohol and marijuana, alone and in combination, on driver-controlled behavior and performance. Although alcohol was found consistently and significantly to cause impairment, marijuana had only an occasional effect. Also, there was little evidence of interaction between alcohol and marijuana. Accidents and speeding tickets reliably increased with alcohol, but no marijuana or combined alcohol-marijuana influence was noted. "The Effects of Alcohol on Driver-Controlled Behavior in a Driving Simulator, Phase I", DOT-HS-806-414."

      A more recent report entitled "Marijuana and Actual Performance", DOT-HS-808-078, noted that "THC is not a profoundly impairing drug….It apparently affects controlled information processing in a variety of laboratory tests, but not to the extent which is beyond the individual's ability to control when he is motivated and permitted to do so in driving".

      • Derek
        July 26, 2013 #

        Did you just use an "ezine" article to prove you're right?

        Come on.

  23. Dorn
    June 25, 2013 #

    6.8 percent may have test positive for thc after an accident, But you must take into consideration that thc will stay in you system for up to 30 day. So the real question is how many of those driver who test positive for thc were actually smoking while driving? I can bet money on it that its no were near 6.8 percent. The truth of the matter is, there is no substantial statistical evidence that link people who drives high are likely to cause an accident. This article is extremely bias, if anything it makes you a more cautious driver, i've been drivng high for 10 years and never once have i gotten into an accident. On a side note, i wouldn't mind reading an article about how THC affect new user while driving compare to daily user who drives. That would be an interesting article, because i know for a fact thc affect drivers whom have been smoking for a long time in a positive way and new user in a negative way due to the paranoia intense affect.

    • Hippie Chik
      August 4, 2013 #

      I agree, Dorn… It affected me way more when I was a teenager & had just started smoking than it does now after decades of daily use. I think it's more about how often & how long you've been smoking that really makes the difference.

  24. james v
    June 27, 2013 #

    however pot studies are bias in that pot stays in your system for around 30 days reguardless of how many hours pass, unlike beer

  25. Harry
    July 4, 2013 #

    The reason marijuana is illegal is money. Alcohol producers pay congresspeople to keep MJ illegal. But now MJ producers are buying state congresspeople, and MJ is becoming legal. As more people make more money from MJ, they will buy more congresspeople, and eventually MJ will be legal. This is how our great system works (LOL). Do do do do do do do, living in the USA…. Anyone who is experienced with MJ will agree with Let It Grow, eventually a person becomes used to driving while stoned, and it becomes normal. I am much less agressive when stoned. I obey all laws and speed limits because getting stopped while stoned is SUCH a bummer. Don't smoke while driving, and everything is cool.

  26. me
    July 6, 2013 #

    So its safe to cut off oxygen to my brain and drive…….. ok i guess marijuana cures cancer too…… if you wanna smoke .. smoke but if yoyr gunna lie to do it you are just irrisponcible…….. the big myth "big government.tries to keep yoy from getting high"…. Reality is your grandmommy votes

  27. Pizza pants
    July 7, 2013 #

    Lmao of course they are gonna report how driving high isn't good. It's a car insurance article they would no way in hell report that it was good to drive high. If they condoned it and somone got into an accident high and killed someone it could be bad news for Esurance. I agree with the majority of you all, I'm a better driver high too. I'm a maniac when I drive sober.

  28. Free Maryjane
    July 9, 2013 #

    I feel no need to weigh in on driving stoned only this simple thought when did we (mankind) become so arrogant we believe me,you or anyone for that matter should be allowed to tell someone they can't have,grow or consume something that grows out of the ground that doesn't belong to anyone maybe we would be better off still being caveman drawing on walls its sad what we choose to argue about we consider ourselves so smart yet we feel the need to force our veiws onto others cant we all just live our own lives with that i dont care legalize or not no manmade law will ever determine my choice

    • Derek
      July 26, 2013 #

      I can tell you what weed is not helping: Your punctuation.

      Oh, the irony of making a weed argument while proving you can't function on a basic level.

      • Tony
        July 27, 2013 #

        Wow Derek you're such an intelligent debater. So somebody has bad punctuation and thats all you can call them out on? Goes to show when you don't have an counter argument, you can always use the grammar card. Derek has proven himself to be nothing more than a mere troll with pointless anti marijuana postings…

      • Veronica
        September 19, 2013 #

        You're just on a role aren't ya? I have something funny to tell you. I smoke pot and guess what, I'M AN ENGLISH MAJOR. Yep you read that right! Grammar and punctuation have absolutely nothing to do with smoking, it has to do with either a. the laziness of the person typing/writing or b. the intelligence level of the individual. Not saying that the person before you is not intelligent because their argument makes a hell of a lot more sense than yours. You know what's funny? The papers that I do when I smoke get a way better grade(including the grammar and punctuation) than the ones that I do while I'm sober. Marijuana helps get the creative juices flowing.Please do yourself a favor Derek and leave this argument to us who "can't function on a basic level," whatever the hell that means.

  29. never mind me
    July 15, 2013 #

    6.8% tested positive for THC. That is very misleading. THC is detectable for 30 days or sometimes more. What were the THC levels at the time of the accidents? 0.001ng is certainly different than 1000.00 ng at the time of the accident or shortly afterwards. Just give us all the facts. Not just the statistics that sound good in an argument.

  30. Lee
    July 18, 2013 #

    "Turns out, drivers who smoke marijuana within a few hours of driving are almost twice as likely to get into an accident as sober drivers."

    Makes for funny thoughts; that smoking weed AFTER driving….

    • Lee
      July 18, 2013 #

      I realize that withing could be before or after but "a few hours before" would have been better

  31. Seriously
    July 26, 2013 #

    Nothing wrong with weed or driving stoned. You can say otherwise all day trying to sound like Johnny do good care about safety, but you err in first accepting the lie that marijuana impairs people. Being high does not impair you, if anything it makes you more cautious and many people use marijuana to focus on work, schoolwork, artwork, whatever. This is a joke of a study done by insurance companies that will use them to discriminate in their pricing. Marijuana is the safest most natural drug we know, has been used for centuries (millennia probably), and has many medicinal purposes. It effing cures cancer…OF COURSE THEY WANT YOU TO THINK ITS BAD!!!

  32. Sly
    July 30, 2013 #

    Hard to say, really… Because thc can be in your system for up to 1 mth. So how would they know when or if that person did smoke it, during or at around the time of the accidents???

  33. John Russell
    July 31, 2013 #

    Absolutely!! you could get run over by everybody SPEEDING past your butt ahhh or you could die of the munchies if you pass out at a rest area LOL LOL…. You could get shot by some 85 years olds for holding them up in the slow lane—- LOL LOL!

  34. david
    August 6, 2013 #

    I drive stoned all the time, the only time it was an issue was the first time I got stoned and drove, and I had a 5 speed so that took some getting use to.

    On the other hand, I see other people attempt this and I do not feel safe at all.

    It comes down to the person, and how good of a driver they are to begin with, in other words, if you suck at driving sober, pot WILL NOT help your problem, so you should smoke less and wait longer because I don't want to hear some b.s. "i crashed because I was high" no, you crashed cuz u suck d at driving

  35. richbrunelle
    August 11, 2013 #

    This is not even a real question. Anything that effects a drivers ability to pay attention should not be combined with driving. But, the survey or research conducted does not speak to the effects of sugar, caffeine, prescribed medications, cough syrup, drinks like 5 Hour Energy, and many many more. The facts are everything that can effect safe driving should not be combined with driving. Were marijuana or any other drug made legal tomorrow I would hope that we as a Nation would recognize that dope and driving is not a good idea, and find alternative transportation when necessary. Of course there will be those that choose to endanger others while driving under the influence, and think they are cool by doing so. This is where intelligence wins over ignorance. DON'T LET FRIENDS DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE!

  36. Dr. Emcee
    August 13, 2013 #

    A recent study shows that fatal auto accidents actually decrease in states that go medicinal. Real life numbers contradict whatever hypothesis was trying to be proved in the study being discussed in this article.
    And CBDs do slow the growth of certain kinds of tumors, so no pot does not cure cancer, but it does fight cancer.
    Those who think MMJ has no medicinal value are victims in the civil war on drugs.

  37. Dave Rogers
    August 18, 2013 #

    "a recent study……"

    So far, recent studies of pot have determined it causes genetic damage, breasts on males, psychopathic behavior, heroin and meth addiction, asthma, cancer, lung disease, sexual promiscuity and political liberalism.

    I'm about full up on recent studies on pot.

  38. Mike
    August 19, 2013 #

    I had to drive stoned before and it is absolutely dangerous. There is no debating it. I'm all for recreational and medicinal use although I no longer smoke but driving stoned is very dangerous.

  39. Lee
    August 21, 2013 #

    DRUGS INC had weekend pot smokers verses daily pot smokers drive a course and it showed the daily users did better than the weekend warriers.

  40. Phenex LA'jin
    August 30, 2013 #

    I mean seriously..dumb a$$3s whom dont know the effects of thc from a cannibis sativa blend or medicinal need to do research n just shut up putting us stoners down..of course thc is found in the system of a person who is in an accident.. but did ya know ya body creates its OWN thc..um PRETTY SURE YA DIDNT cuz everyone else is too damn close minded to see the truth in the lies. Yea i been in an accident AND it was cuz i wasnt stoned..i was aggrivated worrying bout where i was goin NOT what i was doin. I'M sick n tired of reading comments of people so damn scared of pot or potheads hell even patients who smoke to slow hallucinations..stop people from suicide n to say we cant take meds cuz the rest of u Non-smoking judgemental jerks dont see WE ARE PEOPLE TOO n have the same rights you do. The govt WILL make a study of weed n make it negitive the 1940's. Study says AFRICAN AMERICANS N MEXICANS SMOKE WEED TO RAPE N KILL WHITE WOMEN.. so it must be tru cuz all studies are true bout cannibis n blacks n mexicans..GROW UP! This comes from a mixed black/indian/puertorican man whom smokes n has a white girl as my fiancee I HAVENT KILLED HER..CAUSED AN ACCIDENT STONED.So think before ya speak or wanna post ANYTHINGthat is bashing stoners EXPECIALLY when ya a$$ dont smoke. THATS BAZINGA…p.s my i.q is 120 not all of us are idiots..how ya'll enjoyed the breakdown .

    • ifyufuf
      August 31, 2013 #

      lol…enjoyed the rant

  41. DLRdisciple
    August 30, 2013 #

    How about performing an actual reaction time test on people who have only smoked marijuana? A study of 9 other studies is not convincing enough. Especially when this loaded statement is included: "While alcohol is still the most common accident-inducing substance, a recent survey quoted on the National Institute of Drug Abuse’s Web site found that 6.8 percent of drivers who were involved in accidents — most of whom were under 35 — tested positive for THC (the chemical found in marijuana)."
    6.8% were found positive for THC. Not that 6.8% were found to be ONLY positive for THC. A standard has been set with alcohol based on testing (.08 blood alcohol level – is generally considered the legal threshold). I want to see the same tests performed for drivers under the influence of pot. At what point are a marijuana user's reaction times equal to or worse than an alcohol user's? Let the laws reflect the results of scientific testing. As a long time pot user I accept that at some point while I'm using I'm possibly as impaired as a slightly drunk driver and maybe even as impaired as a very drunk driver. But there are more often cases where I know my pot use hasn't made me nearly as impaired as the .08 threshold. Driving under the influence of pot laws must not be arbitrarily a yes or no determination. They must be based on scientific fact with thresholds determined. Difficult to test for at the road side right now but there have been advancements in on-site saliva tests that have proved promising.

  42. Jordan
    August 30, 2013 #

    This article suspiciously is published on the heels of the DOJ announcement to Stan down in the legalization of Marijuana in Washington and Colorado. It's nothing more than a PSA piece aimed at the drivers of those states. Esurance knows those states will have drivers requesting car insurance and will potentially be legal recreational marijuana smokers. They are just covering their assess before issuing policies to those two states and thier drivers.

    Btw, in Washington you can drive high under 5 nano grams legally. How any smoker can determine what nano grams they are at before driving, I have no idea.

    Carry on with the crusade.

  43. Obligatura
    August 30, 2013 #

    There's a big difference between "driving within a few hours of smoking marijuana" and "smoking marijuana within a few hours of driving". This author missed it. She used the second phrase, which refers to smoking after driving.

    Also, if 6.8% of the population that crashed their cars had THC residue in their blood, what percent of the population that didn't crash their cars had THC in their blood? Suppose it's 7.8%? What would that prove? Or maybe it is also 6.8%. No proof at all. What percent of the general popoulation has smoked in the last 30 days? Tell us the baseline.

    The defective writing and the defective logic reflect the mind of someone who does not smoke pot. Pot smokers are more careful. Unless they're really, really stoned, anyway.

  44. Blake m
    September 13, 2013 #

    What about the European studies that directly contradict this article? The European studies actually say the best drivers are cannabis users. This is because they are more careful because they don't want to get caught! If you blaze a heavy indica it will put you to sleep and thus a crash occurs because of drowsiness. Also pot is something water is boiled in. Marijuana is Mexican slang. It's called cannabis. I wish Americans would actually read and do some of there own digging instead of being manipulated by what the TV tells you to think. TV dumbs people down and puts them in a near sleep state. Meaning you will not think critically about what the tv is telling you. You will simply accept what is being told without thinking about it. Hence marketing is the prime example of proof for this.

  45. dave
    September 15, 2013 #

    One problem with this article is that THC remains in body fat for up to 30 days. So that who tests positive for pot could have smoked an hour ago or a week ago. All you can really conclude is that more people who are in accidents are being exposed to THC.

  46. Dru
    September 17, 2013 #

    What about all the people fighting with the other people in the car?? Guess I should just pull over and start walking when my 3 yr old is crying in the back sit. There so many more things to worry about. Come on people now let's love one another right now. Lol

  47. Jim
    September 17, 2013 #

    It blows my mind that this is even a debate. It's just common sense. If your in control of two tons of steel, moving with enough force to destroy anything it comes in contact with, do it with a clear head. Don't try to justify your actions by saying other things are worse, or try to make me choose which stupid scenario I would prefer to be in. The bottom line is, If your driving you should be sober and only paying attention to driving. You should have every advantage to avoid a collision when "the other guy"makes a mistake.

    • Yo Dawg
      September 18, 2013 #

      Have you even read the rest of comments? You are regurgitating stuff now which has already been debated. Of course your mind is blown- it's called cognitive dissonance.

      Would you people just let this thread fuggin die?!?

    • Olivia T.
      September 18, 2013 #

      Thank you! It's a big elephant in this thread. For the record, I'm FOR legalizing marijuana for fiscal reasons; I don't think anyone is a bad person if he or she smokes, it's not for me though. Apart from enjoying an occasional (read: every 4-8 weeks) bout of a few responsible drinks, I'd rather not have a cloak of fog over me and my thoughts. I do yoga and meditate to gain clarity which has helped me repair relationships, lift my depression, and learn to love myself and others. I think that any clarity, happiness or perceived love gained from physical things outside the body are temporary and therefore not really 'the cure.' We are our own real cure, not a plant or a medicine or technology.

  48. M
    September 17, 2013 #

    Duh, watch out for the stone head idiots going 40 mph on the interstate highways. They are out there night and day making travel dangerous.

  49. Olivia T.
    September 18, 2013 #

    I want to point out that this article doesn't argue that marijuana should not be legalized, it is merely showing the results that you are 2 times more likely to get into an accident than a sober driver. It does NOT state that it's as bad as driving while texting, under the influence, etc., and using such arguments as a basis for legalizing marijuana is insane because this article is not discussing that argument. FYI, driving while drunk or texting is, in fact, illegal in my state. I have driven high, drunk and sober. My accidents have all happened while sober, but that does not mean that I drive safer while intoxicated. I had way more near-accident situations while intoxicated, including while being high on marijuana. However, the thing to remember is that I've driven sober 1,000s of time more often than under any kind of influence. Now that I have kids, I'd rather walk and make my kids walk than let anyone drive them high. It impairs your judgement of space and time and reduces reaction time; that is scientific, quantifiable fact. Perhaps some people fare better than others, but if you think you drive better high than sober, than you, my dear friend, should NOT have a license. And if you blame accidents on not having your morning coffee, then you also should not have a license. Thanks for reading!

  50. Lucas
    September 19, 2013 #

    When I was 17, smoking was part of the nightly ritual. I once stopped at a stop sign a block ahead of a street light. I didn't go until the light turned green. Innocent but kinda shows the impairment.