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In many states it became legal to own marijuana in 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately, people forget it is still illegal, and always has been, to drive a car, truck, or SUV while under the influence of marijuana. While people tend to think of driving under the influence as something being related to alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana (and other drugs) is also not only just as common but just as potentially deadly.

These are some of the qualities that a driver may experience while driving high that makes the driving so dangerous:

  • Drowsy
  • Hallucinating
  • Anxiety
  • Bad judgment
  • Distracted driving
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Concentration
  • Impaired vision
  • Impaired distance estimation
  • Sleepiness

All of these factors can lead to a potentially deadly accident. While driving high, a driver does not have the same motor skills because marijuana impairs them so greatly. Driving while drowsy, anxiety, with reduced concentration, and especially the impaired ability to estimate distance, can all have a profound impact on a driver’s ability.


In most states, you can be arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana if you have a THC/marijuana level of 5.00 nanograms per millimeter of blood or higher. If a driver is a minor, in this case meaning under the age of 21, and has a .02 BAC of more than 0.00 nanograms per milliters of blood, then that drive is always considered high.

With the exception of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana is the reason for the most arrests and deaths on the road. Studies have shown that marijuana can stay in the human body for up to five hours after use. Thus, even if someone believes that they are fine to drive since several hours have passed since they last used marijuana, may not in fact be in a good place to drive a car. In addition, if someone ingests marijuana the effects can last even longer. And finally, combining alcohol and marijuana is a deadly combination for impaired driving.

Statistically, the amount of driving while high on the road in many states is alarmingly high. One study showed that nearly one in five daytime drivers may be under the influence of pot, and it may be even higher at night. Nearly 61% of tested drivers who were killed in car accidents tested positive for alcohol or marijuana and another 44% tested positive for having two or more substances in their system, and the two most common are alcohol and marijuana.

If a driver creates a car accident while under the influence of marijuana, the driver could potentially have two cases against him or her. The first would be a criminal case. In this first case, if convicted, the driver would face criminal charges of driving under the influence of marijuana. Depending on a number of factors, the driver could face something as minor as a fine and community service or the driver could face something as serious as extensive jail time.