Study: Drivers using both alcohol and marijuana take more risks while driving

Health

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – An American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety report has found that people who use both alcohol and marijuana are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road.

The AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index studied statistics and found that impaired drivers are more likely to speed, text, intentionally run red lights, and drive aggressively than those who aren’t. According to government data, alcohol and marijuana are the most widely used drugs in the United States. Additionally, 16 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use. This year, 15 state legislatures are considering medical or adult-use marijuana legalization bills.

The AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index found that drivers who use both marijuana and alcohol were significantly more prone to driving under the influence of alcohol versus those who only drink alcohol but do not use marijuana. These motorists identified as someone who consumed alcohol and used marijuana in the past 30 days, and in some cases, they may have used both at the same time. They also engage in various other dangerous driving behaviors far more than drivers who consume either just alcohol or abstain from either drinking alcohol or using marijuana.

Compared to alcohol-only users, drivers who admitted to using both were more likely to report such behaviors as:

  • Speeding on residential streets (55%) vs. alcohol-only (35%)
  • Aggressive driving (52%) vs. alcohol-only (28%)
  • Intentional red-light running (48%) vs alcohol-only (32%)
  • Texting while driving (40%) vs. alcohol-only (21%)

The study found drivers who neither drink alcohol nor use marijuana were considerably less likely to engage in the sorts of risky driving behaviors examined. This Foundation research was published in January 2021 in the peer-reviewed journal Transportation Research Record.

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