Washington, D.C.- More than 75 percent of Americans say there should be a roadside sobriety test for law enforcement to use on drivers suspected of marijuana use, according to a new poll conducted by SurveyMonkey. Furthermore, more than 8 in 10 want policymakers to establish an intoxication standard for driving under the influence of marijuana.
Eleven states and Washington, D.C. have adopted laws legalizing recreational marijuana use. This has led to anxiety over road safety among Americans, with 77 percent of respondents now saying they are concerned about marijuana-impaired driving. And nearly three-fourths of parents in the poll said they are concerned their child will get in a car with someone who is driving under the influence of the drug.
The rapid legalization of recreational use has coincided with an increase in options to ingest marijuana. It can now be smoked, vaped, eaten, and chewed and can also be used in spray form, oils, lotions, and strips. There is also evidence that marijuana usage is on the rise across the United States, and this month it was reported that marijuana use among U.S. college students reached a new 35-year high.
“We need more public education and awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana. And we need more research to develop an objective method of roadside testing. Simply put, without more research, no one can say with precision how high is too high to drive,” said Jessica Hanna, senior vice president of public affairs at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, which commissioned the SurveyMonkey poll.
There are currently no standardized methods of measuring marijuana impairment, such as a Breathalyzer, in part because impairment can vary significantly based on potency, tolerance, and how it is ingested. Yet, according to the National Institutes of Health, marijuana use can slow reaction times and interfere with coordination, perception, judgment, and other critical abilities necessary for safe driving.
The poll released today found that an overwhelming majority of Americans (77 percent) want federal and state policymakers to work together to address the dangers of marijuana impairment to keep roads safe. Similarly, 72 percent support additional federal funds specifically dedicated to researching the development of an intoxication standard.
This survey was conducted online on September 6, 2019, nationally, among 835 respondents. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is ±3.46 percent on the overall sample.
Click here to view the findings from the survey.