With the legalization of recreational marijuana use smoking pot may be all the rage in Colorado, but the Colorado Department of Transportation is turning up the heat in a campaign entitled The Heat is on.
Not only is the Department of Transportation increasing enforcement of drugged driving laws, they are also pairing these efforts with more educational programs. The new campaign will focus on educating the population on the dangers of drugged driving, which can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
How bad is the drugged driving problem?
No one really knew what the impact of more lenient drug laws would be in Colorado, but according to a recent report by Kassondra Cloos in the Colorado Springs Gazette, The legalization of marijuana in Colorado brought with it a new era of impaired driving.
How bad is the problem? According to information provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation they issued more than 5,500 drug- and alcohol-related tickets in 2014 and 354 of them involved only marijuana. But that is only part of the problem. The article also noted that there were many more citations issued in which marijuana contributed to impairment but was not the only factor.
Population does not understand the problem
What may be more concerning, however, is that many Colorado drivers could care less about driving high. Studies suggest a whopping 21 percent of recreational pot users do not understand the laws against driving high and do not know they could be ticketed if they drive while under the influence of marijuana.
Given the ignorance of Colorado drivers its no wonder that the Department of Transportation in Colorado is concerned. In fact, according to Amy Ford, a CDOT spokeswoman, the state Won't be satisfied until everyone in Colorado takes driving high seriously.
How does marijuana affect my driving?
Many drivers assume alcohol is the only thing that can impair their ability to safely operate a motorized vehicle, but experts contend drivers who operate their car while high can suffer from a loss of reaction time, short-term memory loss, hand-eye coordination, concentration and perception of time and distance.
And even though recreational marijuana use may have been legalized in 2014, the laws concerning driving while high have not been relaxed. In fact, the state has been working with local agencies, pot sellers, and other legal analysts to determine sound policies for marijuana use.
When can I drive after smoking marijuana?
So how long should you wait after smoking marijuana to drive? Unfortunately, just like alcohol, the answer is it depends. The amount of time could depend on body size and how it is consumed. Medical experts suggest, however, that waiting a minimum of eight hours is a good idea.