Celebrating 420? Keep Drugged Driving Dangers in Mind
Today is April 20, aka 4/20 — popularly denoted as 420. In marijuana culture, 4:20 a.m. or p.m. is the designated time of day to roll one up, and on the date 4/20, well, don't expect U.S. productivity to go up.
And while you'll see lots of references clever and otherwise to 420 and the drug of the day on the internet (even here on Cars.com), it's also important to bear in mind the more serious discussion going on right now about drugged driving as legalized marijuana spreads to more states.
Eight states and the District of Columbia now have legal recreational marijuana, meaning people age 21 and older can lawfully buy and consume weed without having to make up … er, demonstrate a medical need. Those states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, plus Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states after the governor of West Virginia signed that state's measure into law on Wednesday.
While the incidence and dangers of drunken driving are widely known and well documented, and prescription drug use is known to cause impairment behind the wheel, hard data on marijuana's effect on driving is scarce. Some studies have shown little to no correlation between driving while high and crash risk, while others have been able to tie certain types of driver impairment to specific levels of THC, the active substance in the drug, in the bloodstream.
One thing is for certain, however, whatever the explanation: Fatal crashes in which one or more involved drivers test positive for marijuana are on the rise in states that have legalized the drug.
Catch up on our past drugged-driving coverage below and check back as we follow developments on the issue.
As Drugged Driving Increases, Hard Answers Still Elusive
I Tested Ford's Drugged Driving Suit and You Won't Believe What Happened! (OK, I Crashed)
Report: Drugged-Driving Frequency Reaches New High
Marijuana's Effect on Driving Not Cut-and-Dried Issue, Study Shows
AAA: Marijuana Impairment While Driving Still Hazy
Legalized Marijuana Makes Drugged-Driving Study High Priority