No matter how you look at it, driving while high or drunk is illegal. In California, being arrested for drunk driving or driving while on drugs carries substantial penalties. For first time offenders, you may find yourself facing a fine of at least $500, mandatory probation, required attendance at a DUI/Drug School and a short prison sentence. Defendants who have multiple DUI/DUID arrests or who were involved in an accident that injured another person/property face even harsher consequences. The dire results of driving while impaired should provide enough reasons to always have a sober driver available after a night of partying with friends. While both driving drunk and driving while on an illegal drug are dangerous, questions remain as to which is more deadly. Below, we’ll explore drunk driving vs high driving statistics in an effort to make a determination to that question.
Drunk Driving versus High Driving Statistics
Drunk driving is a major problem throughout the US that leads to a death every forty-eight minutes. In 2010, the Center for Disease Control published a report that stated over 10,000 people were killed in alcohol related traffic accidents. Of those deaths, over 1000 were innocent young children between the ages of 0 and 14. These children were robbed of an opportunity to live their lives much too soon. In the same report, the CDC stated that marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs were involved in 18% of accidents that resulted in the death of either the driver or another person. Often, alcohol and drugs are used in conjunction making it difficult to determine which substance had a greater contribution to the accident. However, it is safe to assume that the combination of both alcohol and drugs is much more likely to result in a deadly accident than the use of a single illegal substance.
In a 2011 ABC News article, author Clayton Sandell argues that drivers in states that have legalized medical marijuana may be safer driving high than driving impaired on alcohol. The study, performed by two economists at the University of Colorado Denver, determined that in the states that allow medical marijuana the traffic fatalities fell by almost 9%. While the study lacks scientifically tested research, the results indicate that individuals high on drugs drive slower, take fewer risks, and drive rarely. However, it is important to note that driving while stoned slows a person’s reaction time and impairs his or her judgment. Consequently, while driving slower may appear safer that is not always an appropriate driving practice.
A 2009 study by Popular Science at the Ben Gurion University in Israel sought to determine whether high drivers or alcohol-impaired drivers operated a vehicle better. Ultimately, the study determined that stoned drivers were more aware of being impaired and drove slower than drunk drivers. However, neither the high nor the alcohol impaired individuals were examples of great driving.
Ultimately, it makes no difference whether or not a person is drunk or high, as both conditions are considered illegal. No matter the circumstances driving drunk or stoned is not a smart option, as both can have deadly consequences. Should you find yourself arrested for a DUI or DUID contact an attorney immediately.
About Guest Post Author:
Christopher J McCann is a criminal defense attorney servicing the Orange and Los Angeles Counties in California. At The Law Offices of Christopher J McCann on Google +. Christopher J. McCann Selected as “Rising Star” for 6th Time. You can check out my list of legal services by going to cjmdefense.com and you can follow me on twitter at @CJM_Law_Firm to see my legal tweet rants on drunk driving laws. Then feel free to read my testimonials and Q/A’s here.