Millions of Americans Admit To Driving High

By Susan Leigh Taylor, KCBS Radio

June 19, 2019
Blurred motion car drivers view traveling through tunnel - car motion blur night traffic fast dui driving under the influence

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) — Recreational marijuana may be legal in California and a number of other states but it's against the law to drive while high. Well this apparently is news to millions of Americans who admit in a new survey that they've done exactly that. KCBS Radio's Susan Leigh Taylor has the story.

14.8 million American drivers say in the last 30 days they've gotten behind the wheel within an hour of using marijuana. Many just don't perceive it to be as dangerous as say, driving drunk.

"More than 95 percent of people we're very aware that that was an extremely dangerous thing to do behind the wheel but only 70 percent of Americans actually said that marijuana impairment offered those same kind of dangers." Michael Blasky, a spokesman for AAA Northern California which conducted the nationwide survey says part of the problem is we really don't fully know how people who've used pot are impaired.

"Someone who might be a very heavy user of marijuana could show no signs of impairment but someone who is only used for the very first time might show limited marijuana in the blood that they might show extreme impairment." Blasky said.

Another challenge we have is a set number that denotes "too drunk to drive" but nothing like that exists for marijuana. For the most part we're relying on law enforcement to use their own judgment.

"Since 2013, actually there's been more of a 30 percent increase in the number of drug recognition officers hired by law enforcement." Blasky adds. "And so you're seeing that kind of being used as a tactic to combat this issue."