A new survey has found that nearly 15 million Americans have done this deed while on weed: Driving.
AAA found that 14.8 million drivers reported getting behind the wheel within one hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days. Moreover, nearly 70% think that it’s unlikely that they will get caught while driving high.
And this tendency falls along generational and gender lines, with 14% of millennials and 8% of men more likely to report getting behind the wheel one hour after using marijuana.
AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John B. Townsend said that the findings are scary. “It’s a recipe for disaster … It’s a recipe for a crash and potential fatality on the highway.”
Driving while high impairs your ability to think through a process, to drive safely and to even focus on driving, Townsend said.
Dr. David Yang, executive director of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a statement that the drug can significantly alter reaction times and impair judgment.
“It’s important for everyone to understand that driving after recently using marijuana can put themselves and others at risk,” Yang said.
Driving behaviors while high exhibit similar patterns as driving while drunk, such as weaving, lane-changing and inability to focus, and AAA said law enforcement officials have training to spot drug-impaired driving.
Townsend said that as many states, including Maryland and Virginia, consider decriminalizing or even legalizing marijuana, it’s important to understand the risks of driving while using it.
“Just because a drug is legal does not mean it is safe to use while or shortly before driving,” he said.
Last weekend, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced a push to decriminalize and legalize the use of small amounts of recreational marijuana. Last May, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled the “Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019.”
Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 10 states: Colorado, California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington, Alaska, Maine, Nevada and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.
WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.