To be legally drunk in Colorado, you have to drink enough alcohol to raise your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08%. For the state to charge someone with an impaired driving offense, they will need to exceed that limit or demonstrate visible impairment to their driving ability.
However, drivers with a much lower BAC than the state limit could still cause serious crashes. Sometimes, these drivers are particularly sensitive to alcohol, meaning they experience impairment at a BAC below the legal limit. Other times, they may have enjoyed more than one intoxicant before getting behind the wheel.
Alcohol and marijuana have a synergistic effect on one another
There are separate rules regarding the amount of marijuana someone can consume before driving a motor vehicle. People across the state need to realize that a driver technically in compliance with both of those rules could still pose more risk to the public than a driver who has not consumed alcohol or marijuana.
If they have also consumed cannabis around the time they consume alcohol, their impairment will be much worse than if they consumed either substance on its own. That increased impairment is the result of the synergy between marijuana and alcohol.
When combined, alcohol and marijuana have a greater effect on the human body than they would when used independently of one another. A driver who is not technically drunk could still drive as unsafely as a drunk driver if they also consumed marijuana.
Alerting police officers to your suspicion of a combination of intoxicants could help you hold someone accountable if they cause an impaired-driving crash that injures you or someone you love.