To understand the effects of marijuana on drivers, Massachusetts conducted a series of driving tests. The tests were scheduled in an effort to understand how well, or how poorly, people operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Part of this will help determine an intoxication level that could result in a DUI or DWI charge.
At least one driver would have been involved in a fatal collision, according to Fox 25 Boston News. Tolerance played a big role, as some volunteers have very low tolerances. The tests were conducted under supervision. Those supervising were one doctor, enforcement officials and a driving instructor.
The test included:
- Maneuvering through five cones
- Narrow turnaround lane maneuverability
- 4-way stop
- High-speed straightaway sections – including an emergency stopping and lane change while driving
- Park while in reverse
Four volunteers were chosen to participate. All participants use marijuana for either recreational or medical purposes. All were tested for THC via urine test before the test. Additional tests were administered after the test.
One volunteer, named as Quentin, showed no improvement with 94ng/mL of THC in his blood. Another, a medical marijuana patient named as Carol, had a few minor issues during the test course. The third volunteer, Corinne, showed no obvious signs of impairment with a lab result showing 100 ng/mL THC in her system. The fourth participant, Don, with 104 ng/mL THC in his system showed excellent driving skills.
The biggest issues found were that those driving under the influence of marijuana drove slower than what they should have. Some knocked over a cone or two and only 1 would have been involved in a serious crash that would have resulted in a fatality. Three rounds of testing took place, each after consuming marijuana. It’s important to note that no one was perfect, everyone had mistakes. Not all were willing to admit that their driving wasn’t perfect.
So, yes, using marijuana does impair your ability to operate a vehicle.
Dr. Tishler said, “What we saw today was that cannabis does affect your driving. That it is dose-dependent, meaning the more they used, the less competent they were.”
Dr. Tishler also said, “I think it’s also important, in light of new recreational, that we see that there are potential issues here. Also, that the sky isn’t falling and not everybody crashed and burned. We’ve got to have an intelligent, science-based conversation about how we have law enforcement interact with people going forward.”