AAA says six states where marijuana is legal have laws that call for blood tests for impaired drivers. But AAA says the tests have no scientific basis and says those laws should be scrapped.
New research by AAA shows it’s a big problem.
“If you’ve had marijuana whether it’s medicinal or otherwise, don’t drive,” said AAA Chicago spokeswoman Beth Mosher, “It’s really that simple.”
20 states now allow medical cannabis and four states plus Washington, D.C. allow recreational marijuana.
AAA looked at Washington, one of the first states to legalize pot, and found fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana doubled.
“ In most recent data 1 in 6 drivers who are involved in a fatal crash there had marijuana in there system,” Mosher said. “And as more and more states look at legalizing marijuana we see this as a concerning trend.”
AAA is also warning states that the legal limits they’ve established for marijuana are arbitrary.
A handful of states have moved to specify the maximum amount of active THC -- the main chemical in marijuana -- that drivers can have in their system.
But AAA says that doesn’t work.
“ We think those are meaningless. They are not backed by any science. One person can have one limit of THC in their blood and be significantly impaired and others can have that same limit and not be impaired at all,” Mosher said.
The Illinois legislature is considering is a bill that would set a THC limit across the state. It’s a difficult issue for law enforcement.
Many in law enforcement and AAA say that officer recognition of impaired drivers is really the only what to determine whether someone is too high to drive. All of this a public safety concerns as pot becomes legal across the country.