By on February 14, 2013

Dope is legal in Washington State. To find out when reefer madness turns into vehicular mayhem, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News passed out marijuana to volunteers and put them behind the wheel to see how they are doing.

Even at four times over the legal limit, the unscientifically picked lab rats drove O.K. After additional bongs, their driving suffered a bit.

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29 Comments on “Too Stoned To Drive?...”


  • avatar
    redav

    One of my former coworkers participated in a similar demo with beer instead of pot. In his own words, he was more shit-faced than he had ever been in his entire life, yet he completed their driving course without hitting anything.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      In the mid ’80s, one of the insurance companies, or MADD, or the VA State Troopers, or some combination of the above was visiting college campuses with what my friends and I considered to be free drinks and an autocross course. The people that returned the desired result of diminished performance were the exceptions, but UVA students were pretty good drinkers at the time.

  • avatar
    tatracitroensaab

    Driving high is just not that big of a deal. While alcohol affects your physical motor skills, weed is more about affecting your time perception/horniness/hungriness. Yeah, driving super baked is still not a great idea, but if you really have to, its just not a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Maintainer

      “more about affecting your time perception”

      That’s where the problem is. “Time Perception” is a huge part of controlling an Automobile.
      Do another test on the open road with unpredictable pedestrians and heavy traffic and see how they fare.

  • avatar
    drivelikejehu

    I did quite a bit of “research” on this topic in high school and college. There was a shopping center with a Wendy’s and Jack-in-the-Box right next to each other, about 5 minutes from campus. I had a 100% success rate in making it there and back. I did once back my A4 into a tree (very slowly), and by some miracle the check engine light didn’t even come on.

    • 0 avatar
      rehposolihp

      I believed your story until “and by some miracle the check engine light didn’t even come on.” Owning a VAG car myself I find that extremely dubious. Or you didn’t drive to stoned enough to be statistically relevant.

      : )

  • avatar
    Eggshen2013

    I recall a university test on the same subject where the participants drove better high then straight. I wish I had more facts…

  • avatar
    mikedt

    I seem to recall a similar “test” done by the Car and Driver editors. IIRC up to a certain point they actually performed better then their performance dropped as they got more stoned.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      This is something that’s been known to computer gamers, particularly FPS gamers for some time. Without distractions, your ability to focus and concentrate on the tasks goes up.

      The problem is that driving isn’t about focusing on just singular tasks. It’s about processing a lot of information from any number of senses while concentrating on the task at hand. I know when I used to drive baked, I’d been distracted by things other than driving, then focus on that to the detriment of my driving.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Also, it is about making good & fast decisions. Impared motor skills is bad, but IMO not as bad as the altered mental state affecting mood/attitude as well as jugdment. (IIRC, driving while angry or in emotional distress has a measureable effect on the probability of an accident.)

  • avatar
    Piston Slap Yo Momma

    Pffft. That’s what I’ve been saying for years now about … uhhhh … what was I talking about?

  • avatar
    Waterview

    While I’m not a testing expert, it would seem logical that any number of drunk/stoned drivers could negotiate a “driving course” set up in a mall parking lot. Put them on the road with other cars, distracted drivers, pedestrians, stop lights, etc. and I can’t imagine that the impairment (alcohol or drugs) doesn’t make them perform worse. It simply fails the common-sense test. If you want to drink/smoke – stay home and call the pizza delivery guy.

  • avatar
    bkmurph

    “Washington state”. Big ‘W’, little ‘S’.

  • avatar
    velvet fog

    A local sketch comedy show, The 206, produced this segment called “Weed Cops” :)

    youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JFBQi46FFSg

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    Sober is the best state for driving, or any other endeavor that involves motor skills and good judgement. Part of the flaw in those impaired-driving studies is that the participants know their driving is being scrutinized, so they make an extra effort to concentrate. Much different than stumbling out of a party, relaxed and care-free, and getting behind the wheel of a car.

    I’ve been drunk and I’ve been stoned. With alcohol, the challenge is motor skills and a lack of inhibition. With pot, it’s the loss of concentration. If I were to drive stoned, I could see my mind wandering off so that I would drive right through a red light.

    Waterview is right. Call the delivery guy, get a cab, or hitch a ride with a sober friend.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Beer: Man, this is fun! Driving drunk should be legal, this isn’t tough at all! This song sucks, change it! Are we there yet? Man, let’s stop for some beef jerky! Damn is that a cop? No, just an old guy in a Crown Vic. Buy some real rims, jerk!

    Weed: Whoa was that a cop? That’s a cop, slow down. No, that’s just a Hyundai Tiburon, what was I thinking? You know what I could go for? Some Cheerios. Do they sell that at gas stations? I don’t want to go in Kroger right now, my eyes are totally red. I’m tired of sitting here, when is this stop sign gonna turn green?

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    As THC stays in the body for 10-12 days (in trace amounts). This presents several issues:
    1) can I or the police demand a drug test after an accident if someone hits me and they appear high?
    2) does having small amounts of THC in your system make you liable for the accident automatically?
    3) does this mean that someone can’t drive for 1.5 weeks after smoking?
    4) what will this do to car insurance rates in places where pot is now legal?

    As a libertarian I could care less what someone wants to put in their body. The problem comes when their choices cost me money.
    Thoughts?

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Also a moderate Libertarian and I think that for both alcohol and THC (etc), the only correct system is to measure the impairment for the individual — basically, the field sobriety test. It’s very plausible that one person with a 0.10% BAC could be less impaired than another person with a 0.05% BAC. But on the other hand, we’re lucky to have any enforcement at all, and at least BAC is pretty objective.

      Throw everything else into the mix and it gets really hairy. How about LSD? Field spinal taps? Keep a neurobiologist in the back seat of the cruiser at all times? :D

  • avatar

    Let’s make no mistake. Marijuana is a DRUG. And quite a powerful one at that, and much more powerful than many people (if not most) give it credit for.

    If you really want to take your chances with an intoxicated state, 5000 lbs, and 120kmh, because you just can’t bare to do it sober, then you’re probably an idiot.

    But that is no excuse.

    Choosing NOT to drve high is the smart, proactive thing to do. An accident just might ruin weed for you—a fate worse than death!

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      This!

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s not a question of whether it’s a good idea to drive impaired vs sober, but you can (apparently, thanks to the video) drive high on pot at up to 4X the legal limit without being physically impaired. I’m still not recommending it, but I’m also not recommending texting, eating, putting on makeup, changing, and a bunch of other things you shouldn’t do behind the wheel including driving drowsy and arguing with someone (whether in the car or on the phone).

      You also shouldn’t day dream, as I’ve found out, but the problem is we live in a car culture while at the same time, a social drinking culture. As much as we try to keep those two worlds apart, life happens… But then if we give people the choice of another “Drug” other than alcohol, (which would more than likely decrease the sale of alcohol dramatically), we would exchange one “Drug” that makes people think they’re OK to drive (if not super human) when they’re definitely not for a “Drug” like marijuana, that you can be totally high on (just not totally baked) and drive just fine, and actually, as relatively safe as driving high on pot is, it’s absolutely one of the last things you feel like doing.

      We made a choice long ago and we’re living with it everyday.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    I’m 21 and as a teenager I drove under the influence of pot countless times. Never directly afterward, but not too long after smoking on some occasions. I can remember a few errors, but at some points it was almost relaxing on back roads. In normal street traffic I found myself wanting to get out of the car and go eat Funyuns or something, it would become stressful and I’d stop. I have had friends who had some bad incidents though.

    Driving drunk or “buzzed” is something I did less often, but I found that to be entirely different. There have been some real close calls with that kinda shit, and after I got a DWI that cost me quite a bit, I learned my lesson. Its totally deplorable.

    Driving intoxicated really isn’t worth it. Although I will say smoking pot won’t put you in as much danger as driving shitface drunk, its still not a good idea unless you just have to drive a quick mile back to your house to raid the fridge.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      Not put “YOU in much danger” you say? How about the people around you? Think, someday should you live long enough, you may have a wife and daughter that you love, or even your own life. Want them or you on the same roads with a pot head like you? What a wonderful, responsible human you are. Do us a favor and next time while high find a bridge to drive off of.

      • 0 avatar
        RatherhaveaBuick

        Excuse me, but “AS MUCH” is the phrase I used here. Which doesn’t mean NONE, it means NOT AS MUCH. Watch the video. And if you read the rest of the post you’ll see that I don’t condone driving intoxicated because I’ve literally paid the price and I’ve seen plenty of MADD videos and accident photos that are startling and shocking to say the least. I learned my lesson, and I respect human life, thus I don’t drive while fucked up. Are you able to read the post or did you just spit out your Hate-orade all over your screen?

        Also, you’re brutally rude and condescending tone right here is completely uncalled for and leads me to believe that you’re not only irrational but hot tempered and maybe you should calm the fuck down, internet tough guy. If this is how angry you get over an online post, I wouldn’t want someone like YOU driving anywhere near me because I can only imagine the extent of your road rage. Cheers. Pun intended.

  • avatar
    Loser

    “People on ‘ludes should not drive”

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Groovy. Now, let’s run a similar test but as a contest between pot smokers and your usual assortment of prescription pill users thatnarebso prevalent in the left lanes of our highways.


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