A research study recently concluded that motor driving after marijuana consumption increases the vulnerability of accident to two fold. People opposing the legalization of this drug marks it a reason for keeping the drug illegitimate. Prior to bigger uproar for implementing stringent DUI laws on marijuana, the risk associated should be discussed in detail to ensure the penalty suits the crime. Although the frail DUI laws compromise on public safety, harsh rules and strict penalties may risk the career of drivers that aren’t impaired.
Something which heightens the vulnerability of accident needs to be avoided. There is hardly anyone that would advocate driving after the consumption of marijuana. NORML is making the smoker aware of this thing by writing in ”Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use”. It says that a responsible consumer of cannabis doesn’t operate motor vehicles or similar machinery after being impaired with cannabis or similar substance like alcohol.
However, marijuana doesn’t impact driving performance in the same intensity as alcohol. Driving under marijuana’s influence heightens the risk of accident to two fold. Comparatively, a somewhat illegal .08 BAC increase the risk factor to eleven fold. However, the penalties remain the same. Post the legalization of cannabis for the use of adults, the legislature also voted for criminalization of driving under marijuana influence. The drivers discovered to be impacted by marijuana were charged with similar crime as the drunk drivers. It made almost impossible to analyze the entire data and applying similar punishments to the two behaviors by varying levels of danger.
Comparatively, the studies reveal how texting also doubles the car crash risk. Making phone calls also increases it by as much as triple fold. Such high-risk behaviors are treated with legal actions. For example, in 2009 Colorado had banned texting while car driving. Initially, offences were punished with as much as $50 ticket but the next series of offences jumped to $100. Later on, the state legislature had rejected a bill pitched to expand the scope by inclusion of phone calls.
Penalties for marijuana DUI are increasingly harsh. Apart from a burden of criminal record, maiden marijuana DUI lands a Colorado convict into jail for five days. A fine of $60 is also imposed along with 48 hours community service. It may also reach one year of imprisonment, 96 hours community service and up to $1,000 fine.
As a section of its campaigns on education, the Colorado state touts the probable cost involved in DUI. It considers rising insurance premiums, legal fees, and similar related expenses. First offence may cost as much as $10,270 which is more than 200 times the price of firs texting offence while driving. There is hardly an evidence to support such a gaping difference. Law was seemingly more of the legislature’s knee jerk reply compared to any reasoned deliberation. Ultimately, the laws on driving under influence needs to consider the main risk associated instead of political expediency. Impaired driving remains a massive problem and there is an unfortunate rise in texting related and drunk driving cases.
Image credit: Karen Roach