Online Originals: Survey says users of both alcohol and marijuana take more risks behind the wheel

Online Originals

(Corvallis Police Department via AP, File)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A survey from the Auto Club Group in the Carolinas shows people who use both alcohol and marijuana are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road.

They are significantly more likely to speed, text, intentionally run red lights and drive aggressively than those who don’t. Compared to alcohol-only users, drivers who admitted to using both were more likely to report such behaviors as:

  • Speeding on residential streets (55%) vs. alcohol-only (35%)
  • Aggressive driving (52%) vs. alcohol-only (28%)
  • Intentional red-light running (48%) vs alcohol-only (32%)
  • Texting while driving (40%) vs. alcohol-only (21%)

Previous research suggests that users who drive high are up to twice as likely to be involved in a crash. Unsurprisingly, the study found drivers who neither drink alcohol nor use marijuana were considerably less likely to engage in the sorts of risky driving behaviors examined.

Now, as COVID restrictions are easing up, more people are out on North Carolina roads. Dangerous driving incidents are rising to pre-pandemic standards.  

State troopers say the roads were virtually empty about a year ago, which meant fewer crashes and fatalities. Now, they’re seeing more violations of basic traffic laws like wearing seatbelts and speeding.  

It might sound like common sense — pay attention while driving — but any driver can say they’ve seen these violations firsthand, even recently.  

According to government data, alcohol and marijuana are the most widely used drugs in the United States — 139.8 million people aged 12 or older reported drinking alcohol in the past month, and 43.5 million reported using marijuana in the past year.

As of Wednesday, 16 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use. In 2021, 15 state legislatures are considering medical or adult-use marijuana legalization bills.

State troopers say they’re out on the roads 24/7, reminding North Carolinians to drive safely.

To read the full survey, click here.

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