Drunk vs. High Driving: How To Measure Drug and Alcohol Impairment? (Infographic)
Alcohol has been legal in most parts of the world for quite some time. However, ever more states are voting to legalize marijuana. With cannabis becoming available to more people and alcohol as ever present, impaired driving is still a major problem. We want to show the major differences between drunk vs high driving.
We can agree, driving under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol is something we should all avoid doing. However, one question remains. How to determine alcohol and drug impairment in drivers?
Drunk Driving and the Different Alcohol Tests
Since driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level over 0.08% is a criminal offense in both USA and Canada, a DUI in your record can affect your life, future career, and choices. We all want to avoid this kind of stain in our record.
So, if a police officer pulls over a driver and suspects that a person has been driving after using alcohol, the driver would be asked to take a breathalyzer test. This test is an official test for determining alcohol level giving precise and reliable results. Also, an officer can order a driver to take a blood test if needed.
Although one amount of alcohol does not impact every person the same, reaching the certain legal level it is highly dangerous and punishable by law.
Marijuana Roadside Test
But, when it comes to marijuana, it’s a completely different story. Why? Because THC level in blood does not necessarily mean that the driver is impaired. THC remains in person’s blood for weeks, up to several months after taking the drug. That does not mean it would influence everyday activities or driving abilities, but it remains in the blood leading to positive testing.
In the US after the process of legalization, some states have regulated driving under the influence of marijuana. In fact, Colorado and Washington made the legal limit of being high before taking the wheel. In these states, a person can drive with five nanograms of THC per milliliter of the blood and there are strict penalties for breaking the law.
How much of smoking marijuana will make five nanograms of the substance in blood, no one can say? It depends on person’s consumption habits, how often a person uses marijuana, on how much THC was inhaled, or how well does individual’s body metabolize THC.
But, since there is no reliable breathalyzer test on the market for determining THC level in person’s blood or saliva, police officers are trained to recognize driver’s physical signs of impairment and can order the blood sample test. Meanwhile, police officers are currently testing roadside oral fluid drug screening devices all over Canada.
Drunk vs. High Driving Infographic
This infographic is designed to show how the laws regarding drunk driving and driving under the influence of marijuana differ in the US and Canada. Also, it briefly describes the differences between criminal offenses like DUI, OWI, and DWI. Let’s take a look what are the penalties for impaired driving and what can we expect regarding high driving.
Hanna Anderson is a legal assistant who works at O’Neill Moon Quedado law firm. After working hours, she likes to spend her free time by reading, traveling and doing yoga.