• May 29th 2009 at 7:33PM
  • 58
Impaired driving kills thousands of motorists each year, and ad campaigns and increased police enforcement have done little to stop it from happening. When we say "impaired driving," most think about alcohol. But marijuana usage prior to getting behind the wheel can be just as dangerous.

Professors from Israel's Ben Gurion University wanted to see which was worse; drink driving or stoned driving. The university chose 14 students to participate in the study, which consists of a realistic driving environment that includes a 1600degree screen and a gold Cadillac STS simulator. Not surprisingly, the school didn't even need to advertise the study to get its test subjects. Apparently, some college-age students will readily participate in studies that involve alcohol or marijuana. Who knew?

The results of the study were less than surprising. The drivers that consumed vodka drinks drove faster while also being very cocky about their abilities. Pot smokers drove more slowly, but like the drunken drivers, they also swerved excessive and changed lanes a lot. The chronic crew also felt they were more aware of their impairment, which you may think is a good thing, but researchers say the detachment from reality is actually very dangerous.

So who wins the battle of drunken drivers verses stoned drivers? Well, nobody. They're both dangerous, unless you're in Israel behind the wheel of a gold Cadillac STS simulator.

[Source: PopSci]


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  • 58 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      damn..don't think I'd make it sober in a 1600 degree surround screen!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Have you ever been on a road in Israel?

      If the Arab really wanted to end Israel they would just hang left turn on red signs around the country. One at Shenkian would kill at least 20 people an hour!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Once they get all their better place electric cars handed out to everyone I'm sure being a pedestrian will be more dangerous than running check points.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd rather get bumped by a pothead doing 10mph than a drunk driver running a red light doing 80mph.
      • 6 Years Ago
      @Don't panic
      That's only because potheads aren't usually driving home from a bar or party, and the ones driving home from the party are likely also drunk like you pointed out. People are usually home or at a friend's house and don't really go anywhere since the effects make you want to sit on the couch and eat the pizza you ordered.

      But if some idiot who's high actually tries to drive they're still a dangerous idiot. I know anesthesiologists tend to like drugs themselves but that doesn't mean you should make it sound like it's ok to be out there driving while you're high. Correlation isn't causation-there's less pothead drivers coming in on traumas because they're less likely to be driving, it doesn't prove that it's less dangerous. Whereas there are tons of idiots coming home from the bar every night who think they can drive.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And BTW I'm in favor of legalizing marijuana, but that doesn't mean I want morons thinking that driving while high on weed is OK. You might not see double, and you might realize you're impaired, but your reaction times are still going to be absolutely awful and you're still going to be largely oblivious to other traffic (hence the swerving in the study). On a track like Clarkson you'll follow the track because unlike alcohol it doesn't make you think you're a superstar, but in actual traffic you'll still be making turns without looking, and swerving right in front of other cars, etc. Not ok at all, and you deserve to spend some time in jail just like the moron coming home from happy hour.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "And there is no magic tattle tale you can blow in, that will give your "PAC" (pot alcohol content)"... They actually have successfully developed and implemented a system that is now widely used in Europe to do drug field sobriety testing. The police swab the suspects saliva on the spot and have a device in the vehicle that can actually detect the presence of 6 different drugs I believe (including Marijuana) with an accuracy rate of about 90%. Only a matter of time before this get put in place here... I guess we can always drive sober instead?
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's just like a urine test. They can only tell that you have done it. They can't tell if you're on it. Pot stays in your system for 30 days. I've been smoking since before I got my lincese, never got in an accident when stoned.
        The only reason it's even illegal is back in the depression they knew that mexicans used it. If they got them out of here they could ssave the few jobs that were avalable for the legal americans.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Where are all the morons at that like to tell us they drive better stoned?
      Just one more reason why marijuana shouldn't be legalized, because unlike people that wreak of alcohol, pot smokers aren't as easy for police to detect.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Before calling him a "moron", did you read the link? There's nothing less moronic than citing major, well funded studies. Whatever you might think, facts are facts. Driving under the influence of Marijuana is NOT measurably dangerous. Some studies (such as the major Australian one) have shown marijuana drivers to be SAFER than sober drivers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So I'm guessing you're a drinker... can't spell "reek" while you reek of booze, eh?

        Unless a cannabis user sticks to brownies, you can smell when they've been smoking, especially if they've been smoking in their car. On the whole, the way it's actually used, marijuana is not worse for your health than alcohol. This is not to say that you should get a free pass for driving while impaired, but it's not some sort of "demon weed" and it doesn't kill its users like alcohol does.

        The reason marijuana should be legalized is purely financial... take money away from people running drugs, save money on law enforcement because they won't have to waste their time prosecuting/imprisoning people for a relatively harmless vice, tax the vice like they do all the others.

        The reason marijuana was made illegal in the first place was primarily financial... growers of cotton, makers of paper and nylon wanted to eliminate competition so they banded together to lobby congress and scare the public and had it made illegal. Then in WWII the du Ponts couldn't meet the navy's demand for nylon ropes and people got licenses to grow hemp for rope production. Industrial hemp today has an extremely low THC content, but it's just as illegal to grow as some exotic breed that's all bud and high in THC. It's a ridiculous waste that these plants are lumped together and are illegal for the same dumb reasons.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're a moron if you don't know what you're talking about.

        I drive better stoned ~ but I do not drive slow. I play driving games better stoned. I cook better stoned. I write music better stoned. You get the picture. If I have more than a drink or two, I won't get behind the wheel nor will I do many of the things I normally enjoy because I'm impaired.

        Make it illegal to drive under many medications (and figure out how to test for meds) and find more proof driving stoned is truly dangerous, I may agree with you...

        Enjoy:
        http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4131.html
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yet another stoner idiot.
        I love it when people who use illegal drugs that put other peoples safety at risk try to argue their point, just makes them sound even more stupid than they already do.
      • 6 Years Ago
      When it comes to personal liberties, IE: what people do in their own homes, I'm up for most anything - it's not, and shouldn't be my right to dictate your behavior. You want to inject Lysol into your genitalia to get high? That should be your choice.

      That said, the moment you get high and jump behind the wheel of a 3000lb machine all bets are off. If you think so little of others that you'll put them in jeopardy to fulfill a momentary desire; screw your personal liberties.

      I'd be for legalization of "soft" drugs in a minute if it weren't for this question of driving stoned. Hell, if there was a clear, easy and infallible test for narcotics and across the board agreement about what constitutes impairment I'd consider legalization but there isn't, so no.

      Drive drunk, drive stoned; makes absolutely no difference to me.

      Period.
        • 6 Years Ago
        >>Inject Lysol into your genitalia to get high.

        I know what I am doing tonight.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A drunk driver speeds through a stop sign... a stoned driver stops and waits for it to turn green... True Story...

      either way is stupid, but alcohol makes you aggressive and ornery.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please driving while drunk has no comparison to drinking while high. I have never seen double, or blurry while high. Driving while a woman or a teen seems to be the biggest problem.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The only person I know who got a perfect on his SATs smokes pot.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm 100% with you. I couldn't have said it better.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That was @ Don'tPanic. Hmmm, I dunno what happened there.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Way back in the 70's Car& Driver Mag did a similare "Real World" test, to follow up on a story they did in the prior months magazine on drunken driving.
      The drunk driving test was adminsterd by the California Highway Patrol, and involved a solom course. Most of the CD staff who took part were either engineers or had actual race track experence. And from the first drink the times decreased and peformance suffered.
      So they had a staffer source some MJ, they even microwaved it, yes that was how it was done back then, because it was believed to increase the potenacy. They went out to an abandoned air field and set up a solom course. Ran base line times, and then took a hit. Times improved. It is a muscle relaxant after all.
      Took another hit, opps times got worse. Took another hit time really dropped off.
      But the capper for me was one writers comment that he knew he was driving over the pylons and didn't care, and that he also realized that it could be an eight year old girl and he would have felt the same.
      Since then I can recall several accidents, and even a literal TRAIN wreck, that made the news, that could be attributed to grass.
      I favor legalization. But I also favor testing drivers in accidents for this as well as booze. And the penalties should be the same.
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