SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A new survey released by AAA shows an alarming trend: more people are admitting they are driving high and many don’t think they will get caught.
Ever since marijuana became legal in California, it’s become another problem officers have had to watch out for. According to AAA, 15 million drivers admit to getting behind the wheel within an hour of lighting up.
Officer Art Montiel with the Redwood City California Highway Patrol said, “Just because you can smoke doesn’t mean you can drive.”
The Redwood City CHP has already made just as many driving under the influence of drug arrests in the first six months of this year as it did in all of 2018. Montiel believes marijuana is to blame.
AAA also released data saying 70 percent of Americans think they won’t get caught for driving high on marijuana. Officer Montiel says that would be a big mistake.
“Just because it’s not as easy to detect, they might not be aware that we have additional training.”
The CHP has added drug recognition experts to the force to tackle the problem. But drivers still worry about their safety on the roads.
Alicia, a driver who spoke to KPIX 5, said, “It’s scary enough with cell phones and everything else so I don’t know if it’s one of those things that were thought through.”
Chris, another driver, added, “It’s no difference than people driving drunk it’s just as much risk.”
The CHP says unlike alcohol, officers currently don’t have a way to measure the amount of marijuana in a person’s system, but the technology is in the process of being developed.
AAA says those who drive while high are twice as likely to get into a crash.