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"Cannabis Conversation" reveals driver attitudes toward marijuana

We warn drivers from an early age not to drink and get behind the wheel. Ahead of prom season, for example, many high schools put on demonstrations about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol. While drinking and driving is still a major cause of accidents on the road, no one can legitimately say they were unaware it is dangerous to drive drunk.

Much less established is the affect marijuana has on driving ability. Unfortunately, accidents involving marijuana use are increasing in the state. Many people who drive under the influence of marijuana underestimate how impairing it can be.

With that in mind, the Colorado Department of Transportation recently conducted a survey involving thousands of Colorado drivers. CDOT wants to better understand driver views on marijuana use and how best to advocate for safe driving.

Many respondents said they drive while high

A majority (56 percent) of respondents said that they get around when high by driving themselves. One in four said they do not use less marijuana even when they know they need to drive. A vast majority (88 percent) said driving under the influence of marijuana was less dangerous than driving drunk.

There are legitimate questions around driving and marijuana use. People who regularly use marijuana may not be impaired when driving even with a high level of measurable THC in their bloodstream, for example.

However, driving high is still dangerous.


CDOT is still examining the responses and taking additional feedback. Some initial takeaways include using dispensaries, from which Coloradoans get the majority of their marijuana, as places to share information about driving under the influence. CDOT also wants to work toward more accurate sobriety tests involving drivers who have used marijuana.

In the meanwhile, it is important that drivers understand that driving under the influence is dangerous, regardless of the substance involved.

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