According to a new poll, nearly 70% of people said that driving stoned is “not much of a problem,” which is true. The recent Gallup survey “didn’t ask Americans to estimate the severity of impairment each substance produces, but to say more broadly how much drivers’ use of each substance affects traffic safety.” The four classes of popular used drugs included: “alcohol, prescription painkillers, marijuana, and prescription antidepressants.” Not surprisingly, a majority of respondents said booze is the number 1 threat to traffic safety:
The vast majority of Americans believe that driving while impaired by alcohol is a “very serious” problem (79%) on the roads today. This swamps public concern about people driving while impaired by prescription painkillers (41%), marijuana (29%) or prescription antidepressants (28%).
The results aren’t all that surprising. Anyone who has watched a Cheech & Chong film or has done bong hits before taking a spin in an automobile, knows that driving while under the influence of high quality chronic can be very fun. Don’t get me wrong. No one eating edibles should be operating anything more complicated than a remote control, but for those smokers who take a few drags off a spliff, and get behind the wheel, it’s not nearly as dangerous as someone who’s tipsy on Wild Irish Rose. So far, in states that have legalized weed, drunk driving has decreased. Live Science spoke to a smart person about the societal benefits of drivers smoking instead of drinking:
Though marijuana does impair driving abilities, there aren’t data that show that it may increase traffic accidents, said Benjamin Hansen, an economist at the University of Oregon in Eugene and at the National Bureau of Economic Research, who has studied marijuana legalization in relation to driving accidents. What’s more, if people who would ordinarily drink and drive instead choose to smoke and drive, that may be safer for the population as a whole, he added.