Survey finds millions got behind wheel within hour of using marijuana

WASHINGTON (WISH) – Nearly 70% of Americans think it’s unlikely a driver will get caught by police for driving while high on marijuana, according to a new survey

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said it’s “alarming” that an estimated 14.8 million drivers reported getting behind the wheel within an hour of using marijuana in the past 30 days. 

Dr. David Yang, the foundation’s executive director, said in a news release Wednesday, “Marijuana can significantly alter reaction times and impair a driver’s judgment. Yet, many drivers don’t consider marijuana-impaired driving as risky as other behaviors like driving drunk or talking on the phone while driving.” 

The survey found nearly 14% of millennials (born between 1980 and 1994) were most likely to report driving within one hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days, followed by 10% of Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015). 

The survey was part of the foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index. Other findings from the annual index: 

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  • More than half of drivers (52.1%) report having driven while talking on a hand-held cellphone at least once in the past 30 days. Fewer respondents report engaging in distracted driving by reading (41.3%) and typing a text/email (32.1%) on a hand-held cellphone while driving. 
  • Nearly 66% of respondents felt that the police would catch a person driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway, yet almost 50% reported having done so in the past 30 days.
  • Over 96% of drivers identify drowsy driving as very or extremely dangerous. However, only slightly less than 40% thought drowsy drivers risked being caught by the police.