Is It More Dangerous To Drive Drunk Or Stoned?

Marijuana jointBrian Palmer discovers that it’s an open and shut case, for Slate:

A new study suggests that legalizing medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities. The authors noted that legalizing marijuana reduces alcohol consumption, and people are more wary of driving high than drunk. Which drug is actually more dangerous on the road?

Alcohol, and it’s not even close. It’s hard to directly compare alcohol and marijuana, because driving impairment depends on dosage and the two drugs tend to affect different skills. (Pot makes drivers worse at mindless tasks like staying in a lane, while alcohol undermines behaviors that require more attention like yielding to pedestrians or taking note of stop signs.) Nevertheless, Yale psychiatrist Richard Sewell reviewed the academic literature on driving while intoxicated in a 2009 article, and found that alcohol is significantly more dangerous. Real-world data from auto accidents indicate that a drunk driver is approximately 10 times more likely to cause a fatal accident than a stoned driver. In most studies, smoking one-third of a joint or less has virtually no impact on a driver’s performance. A couple of studies even suggest that pot smokers are less likely to cause an accident than sober drivers.

It’s a little surprising that THC has such a small effect on driving. In experiments testing the skills required for driving—coordination, visual tracking, and reaction time—rather than driving itself, subjects under the influence of pot fare significantly worse than sober people. But when you put them behind the wheel of a driving simulator, tokers perform okay. Those who have taken in a moderate dose of the drug show minimal impairment, and very experienced smokers show almost no deficit at all. (Interestingly, habitual stoners are also better at driving drunk than ordinary people.)…

[continues at Slate]

, , ,

  • Mysophobe

    Not buying it. That dude in Reefer Madness was stoned to the gills, driving erratically and killed a pedestrian. Case closed.

  • Mysophobe

    Not buying it. That dude in Reefer Madness was stoned to the gills, driving erratically and killed a pedestrian. Case closed.

    • DeepCough

      Oh, don’t worry, Reefer Madness was just a movie, it wasn’t real.

      • RoboKy

        OR WAS IT!?

    • CosmicAmazing

      I LOLed. 

    • Faster!

      Nevermind driving. Playing the piano like a crazed lunatic is far worse! 

  • Rex Vestri
  • Rex Vestri

    Bill Hicks – Beer vs Pot
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1HtfQZXl6U

  • Expert Stoner

    I drive stoned, every single day, and I smoke the medical grade shit. It does not effect your driving in any negative way. Actually, it makes you MORE observant and cautious. If you suck at driving before you smoke, you will still suck after. Everyone’s driving ability’s are different. 

    One of my friends is a terrible driver. If he smokes, he wont drive for the entire day. He will also argue that the marijuana’s effect on his driving ability is not the reason he wont drive. It’s because the marijuana makes him so paranoid he has to drive in fear the whole time. He is normally a paranoid person to begin with though. Alcohol on the other hand, way way way more dangerous to drive on. Drink to much and you can’t walk, never mind drive! Smoke too much marijuana and you end up making an unexpected stop for munchies. :)I can’t even believe this is being debated. 

    Marijuana needs to be legalized so majority of people can realize the stupid stereotypes that go around are complete nonsense. Besides the munchies one, that really happens. 

  • Expert Stoner

    I drive stoned, every single day, and I smoke the medical grade shit. It does not effect your driving in any negative way. Actually, it makes you MORE observant and cautious. If you suck at driving before you smoke, you will still suck after. Everyone’s driving ability’s are different. 

    One of my friends is a terrible driver. If he smokes, he wont drive for the entire day. He will also argue that the marijuana’s effect on his driving ability is not the reason he wont drive. It’s because the marijuana makes him so paranoid he has to drive in fear the whole time. He is normally a paranoid person to begin with though. Alcohol on the other hand, way way way more dangerous to drive on. Drink to much and you can’t walk, never mind drive! Smoke too much marijuana and you end up making an unexpected stop for munchies. :)I can’t even believe this is being debated. 

    Marijuana needs to be legalized so majority of people can realize the stupid stereotypes that go around are complete nonsense. Besides the munchies one, that really happens. 

  • DeepCough

    It’s true: driving stoned DOES NOT increase your chances of getting in an accident, because, when one gets stoned in the act of driving, one gets freaked out by the speed at which your metal carriage is going, so you naturally slow down. I myself have driven stoned out of mind, and managed to get from point A to point B–while driving a stickshift!–without hurting anyone or anything, not even myself. If you can do that, no matter what substance you’re on, I say, “no harm, no foul.”

  • DeepCough

    It’s true: driving stoned DOES NOT increase your chances of getting in an accident, because, when one gets stoned in the act of driving, one gets freaked out by the speed at which your metal carriage is going, so you naturally slow down. I myself have driven stoned out of mind, and managed to get from point A to point B–while driving a stickshift!–without hurting anyone or anything, not even myself. If you can do that, no matter what substance you’re on, I say, “no harm, no foul.”

  • DeepCough

    Oh, don’t worry, Reefer Madness was just a movie, it wasn’t real.

  • CosmicAmazing

    I LOLed. 

  • justagirl

    damn that stop sign!  i be sitting there like it was a never ending red light.  der.

  • justagirl

    damn that stop sign!  i be sitting there like it was a never ending red light.  der.

    • cheesecake

      http://www.9gag.com its funny like you.

      • justagirl

        “run you fools!”    lol!  thanks.  (:

        • cheesecake

          ” I must fly, My people need me.”

  • justagirl

    but, at least i didn’t run it over.  alcohol is definitely more dangerous.

  • justagirl

    but, at least i didn’t run it over.  alcohol is definitely more dangerous.

  • Masshole

    In my town it is a well established FACT that drunk driving is far worse than driving stoned. In fact, the D.A.R.E. instructor/town police officer stated publicly that he does not condone either, but would rather people drive stoned than drunk. That pretty much settled it for me.     

  • Masshole

    In my town it is a well established FACT that drunk driving is far worse than driving stoned. In fact, the D.A.R.E. instructor/town police officer stated publicly that he does not condone either, but would rather people drive stoned than drunk. That pretty much settled it for me.     

  • Ronniedobbs

    What if you are both?  Does one cancel out the other or something like that? 

  • Ronniedobbs

    What if you are both?  Does one cancel out the other or something like that? 

  • Ronniedobbs

    What if you are both?  Does one cancel out the other or something like that? 

    • Raptor

      You get the spins and throw up. So no, 1+1 does not equal zero. 

  • Raptor

    You get the spins and throw up. So no, 1+1 does not equal zero. 

  • http://twitter.com/CoffinRide M.C. CoffinRide

    Ahh more data ignored by doughy white drunkards driven around in limos… Or Congress.

  • http://twitter.com/CoffinRide M.C. CoffinRide

    Ahh more data ignored by doughy white drunkards driven around in limos… Or Congress.

  • Faster!

    Nevermind driving. Playing the piano like a crazed lunatic is far worse! 

  • Anonymous

    OR WAS IT!?

  • Ricky Jazzercise

    I drive high all the time, and for a while I felt kind of guilty about it. Years later I realized I live in a big city with horrible traffic and that pot pretty much eliminates my frustration with this fact. Pot, also really helps with road rage. Look into it.

  • Ricky Jazzercise

    I drive high all the time, and for a while I felt kind of guilty about it. Years later I realized I live in a big city with horrible traffic and that pot pretty much eliminates my frustration with this fact. Pot, also really helps with road rage. Look into it.

  • sabotage

    some kid just died in my town this week after his friends brought him home drunk from the club while teasing that he was too drunk to drive. But he didnt want to go home at that time to his pregnant girlfriend, so after they dropped him off he got into his car to show off to his friends, sped by them giving them a look and crashed into a pole and died in front of them. He was wicked drunk and high on cocaine. I he were stoned he probably would have been too comfortable and hungry to not want to be home on his couch.

  • sabotage

    some kid just died in my town this week after his friends brought him home drunk from the club while teasing that he was too drunk to drive. But he didnt want to go home at that time to his pregnant girlfriend, so after they dropped him off he got into his car to show off to his friends, sped by them giving them a look and crashed into a pole and died in front of them. He was wicked drunk and high on cocaine. I he were stoned he probably would have been too comfortable and hungry to not want to be home on his couch.

  • cheesecake

    http://www.9gag.com its funny like you.

  • A previous stoner

     WOW! They verified what all of my stoner friends have known for years. If only the government could figure out the things that stoners do….

  • A previous stoner

     WOW! They verified what all of my stoner friends have known for years. If only the government could figure out the things that stoners do….

  • justagirl

    “run you fools!”    lol!  thanks.  (:

  • cheesecake

    ” I must fly, My people need me.”

  • Guest

    Sorry but marijuana will never be legalized! Hate to say it but it won’t. Such a nice dream but it will always loose, no matter what.. 

  • Guest

    Sorry but marijuana will never be legalized! Hate to say it but it won’t. Such a nice dream but it will always loose, no matter what.. 

    • Guest 2

      Why? You being so all knowing.. Why wont it ever be legal? Government owns the drug cartels, making too much profit while it’s illegal, profiting from both sides, etc..?? Tell me WHY!!?? 

  • Guest 2

    Why? You being so all knowing.. Why wont it ever be legal? Government owns the drug cartels, making too much profit while it’s illegal, profiting from both sides, etc..?? Tell me WHY!!?? 

  • Stonerbros

    fuck im baked

    • Baked

      Im fucking baked as fuck

      • DeepCough

        Smoke weed everyday.

  • Stonerbros

    fuck im baked

  • Baked

    Im fucking baked as fuck

  • DeepCough

    Smoke weed everyday.

  • http://www.nopointstraffictickets.com Traffic Ticket Toronto

    Interesting study. It’s surprising too that this option can be taken into consideration for the medical drugs to be legalized. But if it keeps people from losing their lives in car accidents, that means it must help. Although it’s an unusual solution, and a controversial one too, if scientists give the thumbs up, that it’s going to be safer on the streets from now on, it’s worth a shot.

  • http://www.nopointstraffictickets.com Traffic Ticket Toronto

    Interesting study. It’s surprising too that this option can be taken into consideration for the medical drugs to be legalized. But if it keeps people from losing their lives in car accidents, that means it must help. Although it’s an unusual solution, and a controversial one too, if scientists give the thumbs up, that it’s going to be safer on the streets from now on, it’s worth a shot.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZDGMUYOFLCEG3YSE7Y7NNTWYYY GardenGirl

    Drunk. Duh.

21
More in Alcohol, Drugs, Drunk Driving
Turn On, Tune In And Get Better?

Disinformation readers who have read Graham Hancock's recent books Supernatural and Entangled are well aware that hallucinogens can be powerful and highly effective medicine, but until recently US government policy...

Close