The Effects of Marijuana on Driving
According to Statistics Canada, over 10 million Canadians have used marijuana at least once in their lives. In 2004 70% of people ages 18-24 have reported that they use marijuana on a regular basis. As such a common drug, marijuana is bound to bring up some controversy among scientists. An important question posed is: Does marijuana use have an effect on ones driving capabilities? If there is an effect, is it significant, or minor? Many studies have shown that this is not case. The use of marijuana does not have a significant effect on driving, certain not enough to impair ones ability.
There are several different views on this issue. There are many scientists who evaluate the effects that marijuana has on a person, and compare it with the common abilities required to operate a vehicle, and conclude that marijuana use, whether in small or large quantities, is extremely hazardous to ones safety while operating a vehicle. Other scientists have done various studies and have determined that while marijuana does impair certain abilities required to drive; it does not impair a person greatly enough as to increase the risk of a fatal car accident. Lastly, it is believe by some that marijuana use does not have a significant negative effect on ones driving abilities. Unlike alcohol, or certain other drugs, it is stated that THC does not impair judgment and the user is aware of their impairments, so they compensate by driving slow, or being more cautious. (Smiley, 1999)
In a study done in 1998 by Olaf Drummer, it was shown that marijuana use does not increase the risk of a fatal accident; in fact, the relative risk of fatal accidents was less than the relative risk of a fatal accident by non-drug users. “Use of all of the drugs identified shows an increase in relative risk except for cannabis, which shows a slight decrease” (Drummer, 1998). Around 3400 fatally injured drivers were investigated, and it was determined what drugs, if any, were used by the driver. 53% of the drivers had either alcohol or drugs in their system. 23% had alcohol, and 14% had only drugs. Only 9% of drivers were found with both drugs and alcohol was found. Only 1% of drivers were found with only cannabis in their system. The study done by Drummer shows that the risk is actually decreased when under the influence of marijuana. Even when cannabis is combined with alcohol, the risk doesn’t increase anymore then it would be with alcohol alone. “According to Drummer, the combination of alcohol and cannabis does not increase the relative risk any more than does alcohol alone”. (Alcohol and Drugs Foundation of Australia) Based on evidence similar to this, Researcher Allison Smiley of the University of Toronto formulated the hypothesis that, while under the influence of marijuana, the driver is aware that they are impair, so they compensate by driving slowly or cautiously. (Smiley, 1999) In other, more ‘hands-on’ research it has been shown that marijuana does indeed impair driving skill, however it is very insignificant and minor.
In conclusion, it is made apparent by several studies done that using Marijuana does not have any significant effect on ones driving capabilities.
(2004). INDEPTH: MARIJUANA Statistics. Retrieved Nov 3rd 2010, from CBC News, http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/marij ... stics.html
Drummer, Olaf (1998) CANNABIS AND THE RISK OF ROAD CRASHES. Retrieved Nov 3rd 2010, from http://www.monash.edu.au/cemo/roadsafet ... _paper.pdf
Smiley, A. (1999). University of Toronto study shows marijuana not a factor in driving accidents. Retrieved Nov 3rd 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/19 ... 110700.htm
This is my longest one, i simply took a longer essay I had written in high school and shortened it, its supposed to be an argumentative essay so please correct any grammar mistakes as well as critique my essay and make sure its done properly, will +rep any help thanks!