Study shows drunk driving is 10 times deadlier than driving under the influence of cannabis

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Could driving under the influence of cannabis be less risky than driving under the influence of alcohol? That’s what researchers claim, following an examination of drug tests taken from drivers involved in over 3,600 auto crashes.

The outcome of the study, which was published back in November in the journal PLOS-One by scientists at the University of Lyon, revealed how there is 10 times increased risk of a fatal crash occurring as a result of alcohol intoxication, as opposed to cannabis intoxication.

Data gathered for the study was dated back to 2011 and sourced from fatal accidents that happened in France.

Compared to sober drivers, the study proved how “drivers under the influence of alcohol are 17.8 times more likely to be responsible for a fatal accident,” whereas drivers under the influence of cannabis were 1.65 times more likely to be responsible for causing a fatal collision.

Drink driving VS. driving under the influence of cannabis

The PLOS-One findings are an accurate reflection of what David Bienenstock (head of content at the High Times) discovered following an investigation carried out in 2017.

His investigation delved into the science underlying drugged driving estimates, exposing drivers under the influence of THC to possess a 5 percent greater risk of crashing than drivers who had no traces of alcohol or drugs in their system.

A federal agency known as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published the findings, from what was said to be the biggest domestic case-control study of its kind.

The study also uncovered a 293 percent increased risk of crashing among drivers with a blood-alcohol level of .08 – the legal limit in most US states.

French researchers noted how previous investigations have brought to light “a decreased capacity of drivers under the influence of cannabis, in particular a decrease in attention, increased reaction time and reduced ability to control direction.”

Motorists who were driving under the influence of cannabis “drive more cautiously,” as contrasted with drivers under the influence of alcohol, who “tend to drive faster,” according to the researchers.

Although cannabis intoxication is not the ideal scenario for anyone who takes to the open road, the research is stacking up to support the argument that drink driving is more risky than driving whilst high.

Researchers from nonprofit news organization The Marshall Project claim that driving on cannabis is the equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol content of .01 to.05.

What’s more, one of the researchers described the heightened crash risk of cruising on cannabis “so small you can compare it to driving in darkness compared to driving in daylight.”