‘Doping and driving’

with Sharon Peters

Q: We live in Washington, where recreational marijuana is now being sold. I’ve been giving my 20-year-old warnings about doping and driving. But his position is that it’s safer than booze, doesn’t have the same effect on thought processing as alcohol does “or so he’s heard” (yeah, right) and DUIs simply won’t happen. Is there any early information from Colorado regarding stoned driving? I know they began selling recreational pot several months ago.

A: Here are some facts, gathered from a variety of different sources:

When medical marijuana sales had expanded into 20 states by 2010, legal marijuana was detected in the bodies of dead drivers three times more often that year compared to those who died behind the wheel in 1999, according to information reported by NBC.

The Colorado State Patrol only just this year began tracking arrests related to marijuana impairment (they were combined with other forms of impaired driving before). In the first six months of 2014, 228 people were cited in marijuanaimpaired driving cases. That’s about 13 percent of the total impaired-driving citations issued by the State Patrol.

A Denver detox facility reported in June that 15 percent of their patients arrested for DUI Jan. 1 through May 31, 2014 were marijuana-impaired. That’s about twice the number who landed there in 2013 for pot-impaired driving arrests.

All that said, recreational pot sales brought more than $10 million to state tax coffers in six months. We can assume weed is still glowingly regarded in the state even in the face of Colorado officials deciding it would be prudent to spend $1 million on TV spots aimed at curtailing stoned driving.

© CTW Features

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email Sharon@ctwfeatures.com.