Even in states where it remains illegal, most people would probably agree that marijuana use is becoming more socially mainstreamed.
With more people using the drug recreationally and believing they can do so responsibly, police in Virginia are facing the problem about what to do about high drivers.
Someone who is actually under the influence of marijuana can be hard to identify, and it seems that drivers know this. According to one survey, almost 70% of those responding expressed doubt that the police would actually catch a driver who was operating a vehicle within an hour of using the drug.
Perhaps of greater concern is that a relatively large number of people do not really see the risks of driving while high on marijuana. Of those asked, 13% said that they thought high driving, that is, operating within 60 minutes of ingesting marijuana, was only slightly dangerous or was not really dangerous at all.
Thankfully, this group represents a minority of those surveyed, as other evidence shows that using marijuana and then driving shortly thereafter does indeed increase one's chances of a car accident, and quite considerably.
However, comparatively, those responding to the survey appreciated the dangers of drunk driving, fatigued driving and even driving under the influence of other drugs to a much greater degree. Of those surveyed, only 2.2% described driving under the influence of pills to be slightly dangerous or not dangerous, with 1.2% responding thus with respect to drunk driving and 1% saying as much about drowsy driving.
The study recommended that police put a higher priority on the enforcement of drunk and drugged driving laws. For example, Virginia authorities could rely to a greater degree on specially trained officers called Drug Recognition Experts.
In the interim, though, victims of drugged drivers in the Blacksburg area should also remember that they may be able to get compensation for their injuries through an appropriate legal action.