The possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes has become increasingly legal throughout the United States, especially for recreational users who are age 21 and older. But marijuana possession remains illegal under federal law and here in Texas, it’s still against the law for anyone to possess marijuana for recreational use.
Aside from the fact that it’s illegal to possess marijuana in Texas, it’s also illegal to drive under the influence of the drug. Actually, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of pot in all 50 states, not just Texas. So, states like Colorado, Nevada, and California (where recreational use is decriminalized) are still nailing people for drugged driving if they drive under the influence of marijuana. But that doesn’t mean drivers are abiding by the law.
Effects of Marijuana on Driving Ability
If you talk to people who have drank alcohol and smoked or consumed edibles in the past, most of them will say something to the effect of, “I’d much rather drive under the influence of marijuana than alcohol,” or “It’s much safer to drive while high than drunk,” or “People who drive high are driving slow, while drunk drivers are speeding.”
So, are they right? Is it actually safe to drive under the influence of marijuana? Does pot really affect driving ability in a negative way? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a government agency, “Marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.”
The NIDA goes on to explain how marijuana is the illegal drug that is most commonly found in the systems of drivers who are involved in motor vehicle crashes, including the fatal ones. “Two large European studies found that drivers with THC in their blood were roughly twice as likely to be culpable for a fatal crash than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol,” reported the NIDA.
To learn more, check out the article, “Does marijuana impair driving the way alcohol does?” from the Drug Policy Alliance. If you were injured by a drugged driver, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to meet with a Plano car accident lawyer.
Related: Is Texas a No-Fault Insurance State?