PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As more states legalize recreational marijuana, startling new statistics from AAA reveal more people are admitting to driving while high.
According to the results of a survey conducted by AAA, approximately 15 million drivers got behind the wheel of their car within one hour of smoking marijuana over the last 30 days.
“There are a great number of impaired drivers that we’re sharing the road with every day,” Diana Imondi of AAA Northeast said.
According to AAA, those who drive high are up to twice as likely to be in a car crash.
“Peripheral vision is going to narrow,” Imondi said. “Depth perception is going to be off.”
Imondi also listed speed regulation as another concern.
The survey found Millenials are most likely to report driving within one hour of using marijuana – 17% admitted to it in the last 30 days. Generation Z is the second most likely group at 10%.
Driving while high has become a major concern for law enforcement as the legality of the drug changes within each state.
While recreational marijuana is now legal in Massachusetts, it is not in Rhode Island. Lawmakers considered it this legislative session, but ultimately chose not to.
According to AAA, 87,000 officers across the country are being trained to recognize a drug-impaired driver. A Target 12 investigation in April, only a little over 2% of officers in Rhode Island have been trained so far.
AAA’s survey revealed education about drunk driving has had an impact. Imondi said AAA wants to continue to educate high school students about the danger of high driving as well.
“They absolutely have not made that connection with marijuana,” Imondi said. “A lot of these drivers believe they’re going to drive safer with THC in their system.”
Imondi said that is a myth. She said in the last year, AAA has educated 3,000 high school students about the dangers of driving while high and have had positive results.
“The goal is to dispel those myths and really get them to think twice about driving high,” she said.