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Driving High Safer Than Driving Drunk, Study Finds

Getting in a car with an impaired driver is never safe, but a new study finds that high drivers are less likely to crash than drunken drivers.
Posted at 12:45 PM, Feb 10, 2015

Getting in the car with an impaired driver is never a safe bet, but a new study finds one kind of impaired driver might be significantly less likely to crash than another.

Specifically, a stoned driver versus a drunk driver.

A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that drivers who used alcohol prior to driving were much more likely to be involved in an accident than those who used marijuana.

If that didn't sink in, here's a graph from The Washington Post illustrating the point. On the far right here is alcohol, showing a 600 percent greater likelihood of a crash with use prior to driving.

If you missed it, marijuana was on the far left at a near zero percent increase in the odds of a crash.

According to the study, marijuana use initially showed an increase in the likelihood of an accident, but after adjusting for variables like age, gender, race and ethnicity, the chances of a stoned driver crashing were roughly the same as a sober driver.

The study does point out that previous research has found an increased risk of an accident with marijuana use.

Which has led some states, including Colorado who legalized marijuana in 2012, to warn it will issue DUIs to drivers under the influence of marijuana.

This video includes images from Getty Images.