Pennsylvania Trails

Intoxicated Driving: The Differences Between Marijuana and Alcohol

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Driving Facts | 0 comments

Almost any intoxicant can negatively impact an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. For this reason, most states have designed laws to discourage the use of intoxicants by motorists. But enforcing these laws can be more difficult for some intoxicants than others.

Drunk driving, which has been recognized as a serious public safety issue for several decades now, has been subject to increasingly strict laws and regulations prohibiting impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. All states institute a limit of .08% blood alcohol content, and there are a wide range of different technologies that can be used to effectively determine whether a driver suspected of driving under the influence is over this limit, including breathalyzers and blood and urine tests.

Marijuana, on the other hand, is much more difficult to effectively detect in drivers. For one, marijuana, unlike alcohol, stays in the bloodstream for much longer than alcohol, sometimes for weeks after an individual has used it. Another issue is that there aren’t currently widely-accepted legal limits to effectively determine how much marijuana can be in an individual’s system before they are unsafe to drive. Finally, testing technology is not nearly as advanced as it is for alcohol.

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