This week, a AAA study noted a drastic rise in the number of impaired drivers in states where recreational marijuana has been legalized. AAA also found that there is no way to test for marijuana impairment in drivers.
Later this week, a bong, still warm and smelling of burnt marijuana smoke was found in the car of Jarrad Barnes after he crashed into and killed former Pima County Supervisor Ann Day.
We don’t know all the facts surrounding the car crash yet. Only that the driver admits to having consumed marijuana the night before and had what appeared to be a recently used bong in his car at the time of the accident.
If AAA is correct that we cannot ever really determine the degree of impairment of drivers who smoke marijuana, and if the legalization of recreational marijuana in Arizona will lead to more stoned drivers on the road, how many crashes will there be like the one that killed Ann Day this week? And what will we be able to do about it if we can’t determine impairment?
Legalized recreational marijuana will lead to a rise in impaired drivers, more accidents and more deaths on the roadways. And, when we see this rise in dangerous driving we will have no way to punish those responsible.