The National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) has just released the results of a recent survey, in which a large portion of marijuana users admitted driving under the influence of the drug.
Based out of the University of South Wales, the NCPIC conducted a survey on over 4,600 Australians who were at least 18 years old through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
The poll found that nearly 70% of those who had used cannabis recently had in fact driven under its influence. Of those who had driven under the influence, 16% admitted to doing so on a daily basis within 5 hours of using cannabis. (Though this is not a huge surprise, having talked to many marijuana users over the years.)
Senior researcher at NCPIC Dr. Peter Gates said many users were oblivious to the impact cannabis had on driving skills. He said users' attitudes conflicted with established scientific evidence, showing cannabis increased the risk of motor vehicle crashes by up to 300%.
"We know from research that any cannabis use will affect your tracking ability, your reaction time, your attention span, your awareness of distance, your coordination, concentration," Dr. Gates said. "We hear a number of myths from cannabis users like that they may be more aware of their driving when they're stoned or that they're driving slower."
Dr. Gates also pointed out that users were unaware of the risk of being drug tested, despite the rise in the number of random roadside drug tests being conducted.
"It is time for a wake-up call," he said.