Driving stoned, carefree ?

Surveys show high school students are as likely to hit the road while high as they are while drunk. Experts say many teens never hear warnings about marijuana.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which keeps statistics on wrecks involving alcohol, does not have enough data to generate similar numbers for marijuana. Heidi Coleman, chief of the safety administration’s impaired driving division, said many police officers likely never detect pot because they aren’t trained to read physical cues–such as pupil size, body temperature and heart rate–that suggest the drug’s presence. “They may suspect that a driver is impaired, but if they don’t test positive for alcohol, [officers] may let them go,” she said.

Research into marijuana’s impact on driving is similarly limited, she said. While state law treats measurable levels of pot or other drugs as evidence of DUI (similar to a blood-alcohol reading of 0.08 percent or higher), science is more nebulous. Some studies have linked marijuana to decreased attentiveness, slower reactions, diminished motor skills and a worsened ability to estimate distance, but there is no consensus about how severe the effects are or how long they last. At ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., we have successfully prosecuted cases against drivers who have been high and caused crashes, injuries and even death. If you or someone you know has been harmed by a drunk, high or stoned driver, please contact us at once (703-796-9555)

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