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AAA Survey: drivers underestimate marijuana's dangers

AAA Survey on marijuana impairment
Posted at 12:01 AM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 01:01:31-04

MADISON, Wis. — A new survey from AAA shows driving high is seen as less dangerous than driving drunk or distracted.

"This report does give some eye-opening numbers about how people perceive the danger of marijuana use and then driving right afterwards, especially compared to some of the other risky behavior that's commonly understood," AAA Midwest Region director of public affairs Nick Jarmusz said.

The survey found that more than 13-percent of Americans viewed driving within an hour after using marijuana as 'slightly dangerous' or 'not dangerous at all.' That's more than ten times the rate for alcohol-impaired driving.

"It is alarming that people are already starting with a lower threshold recognition of how dangerous marijuana use and driving can be," Jarmusz said.

Nearly 70-percent of respondents think a driver is unlikely to be caught by police when driving within an hour after using marijuana.

Scott Ries from the Marinette Police Department said that number is not a surprise.

"I think there's a big misconception that the officers don't know that you're using and belief is that they have no tests for it or anything like that," he said. "Those are just fallacies that haven't been proven to the public."

Nationally, an estimated 14.8 million drivers report getting behind the wheel within one hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days.