By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Weed mythology has it that in the 1970s, a group of California teens would use “420” as a code word to signal after-school smoke sessions.
And on this 4/20 day, the Wyoming Highway Patrol is cautioning motorists that people who choose to use both alcohol and cannabis are among the most dangerous drivers on the road.
Government data shows that alcohol and marijuana are the most widely used drugs in the United States – 139.8 million people aged 12 or older reported drinking alcohol in the past month, and 43.5 million reported using marijuana in the past year.
And even when they use the substances separately, the Wyoming Department of Transportation reports that people who drink and get high are more likely to speed, text, intentionally run red lights, and drive aggressively than those who don’t.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report just in time for 4/20 day that highlights the dangers of drinking and toking. The Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index found that drivers who use both marijuana and alcohol were significantly more prone to driving under the influence of alcohol versus those who only drink alcohol but do not use marijuana.
Compared to alcohol-only users, AAA reports that drivers who admitted to using both were more likely to report such behaviors as:
Speeding on residential streets (55%) vs. alcohol-only (35%)
Aggressive driving (52%) vs. alcohol-only (28%)
Intentional red-light running (48%) vs alcohol-only (32%)
Texting while driving (40%) vs. alcohol-only (21%)
Cody Beers, public information specialist for WYDOT, pointed out to Cowboy State Daily that impairment of any kind increases risk factors on the road.
“When people are out driving impaired, they’re not wearing their seatbelts, or they’re driving too fast – and when you combine those factors together, you’re not buckled and you’re driving too fast and you’re drinking and driving, you’re gonna have a crash.”