A common consideration about cannabis legalization is whether roads in America will become more dangerous. Little is understood about how cannabis alone, or combined with alcohol, might effect drivers.
New studies aim to answer that question, and some key findings are included in the Cannabis Wire Starter Kit page devoted to stoned driving.
The latest study was conducted using the National Advanced Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa, and sponsored by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the Office of the National Drug Control Policy and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The findings shed some light on how drivers behave after consuming cannabis alone, alcohol alone, and the two substances together.
The study found that cannabis-impaired drivers have a certain level of self-awareness absent in alcohol-impaired drivers: “Cannabis was associated with slower driving and greater headway, suggesting a possible awareness of impairment and attempt to compensate.” (Headway refers to distance from cars ahead.)
Alcohol was associated with higher speeds, but “cannabis mitigated drivers’ tendency to drive faster with alcohol.”