WASHINGTON — Kate Carey, vice president for federal government relations at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) issued the following statement commending the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee for holding today’s hearing entitled, “Examining Drug-Impaired Driving.”
“Vehicle crashes continue to rise across the country and driving under the influence of marijuana is thought to be a factor contributing to this alarming trend,” said Carey.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form (medical and or recreational). According to a survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults, conducted online by SurveyMonkey on behalf of PCI, 20% of Americans say they have driven a car under the influence of marijuana, with 82% of those who have driven under the influence of marijuana admitting they drove either immediately or within two hours of using the drug.
“While these laws allow for the use of marijuana, driving high is illegal. Evidence shows that marijuana use can impair critical abilities necessary for safe driving, such as divided attention, slow reaction time, lane tracking, and cognitive and executive functions,” continued Carey.
A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association found that among the fatally-injured drivers who tested positive for drugs in 2016, 38% tested positive for some form of marijuana. Additionally, the report also analyzed a 2017 study finding that while marijuana related THC dissipates quickly in the bloodstream, the marijuana high and related driving performance impairment linger for much longer.
“Driving under the influence of marijuana should be viewed with the same risks as drunk or distracted driving. When you’re high, it can impair your judgement, motor coordination, and reaction time. We need more research, public awareness, and better public policy to address marijuana impairment and testing standards to make our roads safer,” concluded Carey.