Study: Stoned drivers are safer than drunk drivers

KUSA - Two new studies show stoned drivers aren't as dangerous as drunk drivers.

Both National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studies say the exact impact THC has on drivers is difficult to determine.

However, by surveying volunteers they found driving with alcohol in your system and driving with THC in your system had very different results.

According to one study, drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 are 400 percent more likely to get into a car crash than a sober driver.

Drivers testing positive for THC are about 25 percent more likely to crash. But, when you factor in demographic information like age and gender, that number drops to about five percent.

Democratic representative Don Pabon calls it the lesser of two evils.

"If you're texting and driving or haven't gotten enough sleep before you get behind the wheel, drinking and driving, smoking and driving, I mean none of this is good for the people of Colorado," Pabon said.

The laws on our books say if your blood shows you have 5 nanograms of THC per mililiter of blood, you could be at risk for a DUI.

The presence of THC doesn't necessarily mean you're high. The second study shows, "At the current time, specific drug concentration levels cannot be reliably equated with a specific degree of driver impairment."

"It confirms what we've been saying all along, is that there's no studies or scientific evidence that shows a number can predict someone's impairment," DUI defense attorney Jay Tiftickjian said.

Lawmakers point out that a blood test for a suspected high-driver is only one factor for impairment. That's different from the way cops use your BAC to decide if you're drunk. This newest information likely will not change our laws anytime soon.

"Deciding between using marijuana before getting behind the wheel and using alcohol before getting behind the wheel, they're both bad ideas," Pabon said.

The study points out that there is already evidence of a strong relationship between alcohol and impairment. But more research is needed to fully understand the correlation between drug use and driving impairment.

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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