Many drivers underestimate dangers of driving while high: AAA survey

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CHICAGO — The AAA has some sobering new data about driving high as more states legalize marijuana. A survey found nearly 15 million people admitted to driving within an hour of using pot — and nearly 70% of those asked said they think it’s unlikely those driving high will get caught. Many drivers don’t think driving high is as dangerous as driving drunk. But AAA statistics show motorists impaired by marijuana are twice as likely to have an accident than sober drivers. Experts said driving while under the influence of marijuana leads to slowed reaction time. Difficulties in road tracking and lane-position variability are another danger. Millennials were 14% more likely to drive soon after using. Men were 8% more likely to do so than women. AAA is not taking a position on Illinois’ legalization which takes effect Jan. 1. But law enforcement agencies say there isn’t enough funding for the training necessary to get officers prepared for detecting drug influenced drivers starting next year. Police departments do not yet have a road-side breathalyzer test for marijuana. “It’s a real hardship on law enforcement when it comes to doing our job when somebody is high on marijuana,” Chief Steve Stelter of the Westchester Police Department said. “And we can’t really do anything about it. We can’t prove that.”


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