Study: Cannabis least risky drug for drivers

In Research Updates and News, Top Stories by David Silverberg

A new study reveals cannabis is much safer than other substances that impair driving.

The results, published online in the Accident Analysis & Prevention journal, concluded  alcohol “still poses the largest problem in terms of driver risk of getting injured.”

Drivers with a blood alcohol level of 1.2 g/L (0.12% BAC) or higher are over 30 times more likely to get in a serious accident than drivers with any amount of cannabis in their system, it was found.

Other evidence points to cannabis-influenced drivers posing less of a risk than other drivers imbibing alcohol or other drugs. A driving simulator study published in 2000 by UK Department of Transport researchers found that, unlike drunk drivers, “drivers under the influence of cannabis seem aware that they are impaired” and actually compensate for this in a number of ways, including “driving more slowly,” according to media reports.

Still, in U.S. states where marijuana is accessible, both medically and recreationally, driving while high on cannabis is of growing concern. In Colorado, they enacted the so-called driving-stoned law, intended to minimize the public health threat of impaired drivers on the roads.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Thomas Anderson