According to a survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of drivers found with marijuana in their system increased from 2007. The survey, which was conducted in 2013 and 2014, found that 12.6 percent of drivers tested positive for marijuana compared to 8.6 percent in 2007. In the same time period, the number of drivers who had alcohol in their system decreased since 2007.
The study also found that 22 percent of drivers were found to have had any type of impairing drug in their system. While it was found that having marijuana in a person’s system can impair motor skills, it may not be as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol. One study found that those who use marijuana may be at a higher risk of a crash compared to non-users because of their age, suggesting that younger drivers would be at risk singularly due to their inexperience.
Making matters slightly more complicated is the fact that marijuana stays in the system for many hours or days after its effects wear off. Research also indicates that those who drive after using marijuana may also be more aware of their surroundings and use extra caution while they are on the road.
Drivers who are charged with impaired or drunk driving may face many consequences. They may be put in jail, ordered to pay a fine or lose their license for several months after being convicted. However, an attorney may be able to help a driver avoid some or all of these consequences. It may be possible to argue that a driver’s THC levels were minimal or that an alcohol test was improperly conducted prior to charging the driver.