The acronym DWI (Driving While under the Influence) is most often associated with alcohol use prior to driving, but DWI can also apply to using illicit drugs like marijuana before operating a vehicle. However, countless studies have focused on the effects of driving while under the influence of alcohol, not marijuana. A recent study changes that.
Dalhousie University researchers set out to study the effects of marijuana on drivers, and the findings are remarkable. Those who drive while under the influence of marijuana are twice as likely to cause a vehicular accident, as compared to drivers who are not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. This result surprises many people.
Marijuana has long been touted as a safe drug by many in the drug communities. It has been considered safe in both consumption and in vehicular operation by much of the community, and often, users see no need to attend marijuana rehabilitation at inpatient treatment centers, like Vista Taos Treatment Center of New Mexico. Marijuana is merely accepted as a safe drug by users, despite the drugs illegality.
In fact, the drug has become more widely used and more widely accepted as a safe drug within the drug community that many more people are driving under the influence. A 2007 Scotland survey of 537 drivers found that 15% of drivers were under the influence of marijuana. The drivers in question ranged in age from 17 to 39, and all had consumed marijuana within a 12 hour window of time prior to driving. This increase in the number of people driving under the influence underlines the belief that the drug is safer while driving than alcohol.
Additionally, many people in the science community have thought that marijuana’s effects on a driver were not nearly as overwhelming as alcohol. In fact, one scientist, NORML’s Paul Armentano, claims that marijuana’s effects are “subtle and short-lived.” He studied the effects by focusing on more than 12 studies, all to determine that closed course and driving simulation participants suffered from poor eye movement, poor reaction time, increased distancing between cars and decreased speed.
In essence, Armentano’s findings showed that drivers under the influence of marijuana were simply slower in all aspects of driving ability. He also discovered that the drivers were more likely to be aware of their lacking abilities and to drive more cautiously. Both the slowed abilities and the cautiousness of drivers in Amarentano’s findings led him to believe that driving under the influence of marijuana was less likely to cause a crash than driving under the influence of alcohol.
To disprove this claim, the Dalhousie group of researchers instead studied true-to-life accidents in depth. Although this real-life study has been attempted before, previous studies that were completed were often marred by drivers’ additional narcotics or alcohol on board. In other words, many drivers were under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol at the time of vehicular accidents, which made many scientists deem the results inconclusive.
To combat this issue, the Dalhousie University researchers scoured through the findings of nine previous studies (for a total population of 49,411 people) to find statistics from drivers only under the influence of marijuana. All of the participants found in the study were under the influence of marijuana at the time of a vehicular accident that involved one or more vehicles, and their marijuana usage was proven through either blood tests or self-report.
The findings prove that those under the influence of marijuana are twice as likely to become involved in a motor vehicle crash than sober drivers. In addition, previous studies have shown an increase in marijuana-induced accidents when drivers were younger than 35 years old, but the Dalhousie study did not detail this statistic specifically.
These findings lead to a greater need for marijuana rehabilitation at inpatient treatment centers than may have been previously discovered. Since it has been proven that drivers under the influence of marijuana are more dangerous than researchers had thought before, it becomes more of a necessity to help addicts through marijuana rehabilitation at inpatient treatment centers. This very step could save many lives, including the lives of those addicted to marijuana.
Marijuana rehabilitation at inpatient treatment centers is thankfully quite effective. The inpatient treatment centers work with marijuana addicts to identify the underlying reasons for addiction, a step that allows addicts to better work toward marijuana rehabilitation.
If you or a loved one is addicted to marijuana, checking in to an inpatient treatment center could help you overcome the marijuana addiction and allow you to live a full life, free from the increased risks of vehicular accident from marijuana usage. For more information about New Mexico inpatient treatment centers: look to Vista Taos Renewal Center for answers. www.VistaTaos.com