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Federal Study Says Driving Stoned Does Not Increase Risk for Crashing

Federal Study Says Driving Stoned Does Not Increase Risk for Crashing

Despite widespread, often stereotypical, concerns about using marijuana, a new federal report tosses cold water on one of those preconceived notions with its finding that driving under the influence of marijuana does not increase the risk of getting in a car crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spent a 20-month period, which concluded in 2012, analyzing over 3,000 car accidents in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for their causes and specific contexts. Although the researchers determined that motorists who had tested positive for marijuana were involved in more car accidents, this did not also mean that driving stoned meant they were more likely to be in an accident. In fact, their findings revealed just the opposite, finding no cause-and-effect relationship between stoned driving and car crashes.

Conversely, the NHTSA study extrapolated that drunk drivers — defined as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 — exhibited four times the risk of being in a car accident than sober motorists. Those with a BAC level of .15, almost double the legal limit, exhibited a 12-fold risk for crashing.

"These findings highlight the importance of research to better understand how marijuana use affects drivers, so states and communities can craft the best safety practices," said Jeff Michaels, associate administrator the NHTSA's research and program development, in an official statement.

However, in spite of this research, being charged with driving under the influence of marijuana can still have accused drivers looking at fines, the loss of their license and even time spent in jail. If you've been charged with a DUID or DUI in Colorado and require expert legal counsel to defend your case, call The Orr Law Firm today!