A recent publication by the Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that Drug Related Auto Fatalities Are Becoming More Prevalent Than Alcohol Related fatalities. Specifically, drugs were present in 43% of the fatally injured drivers, which is almost double the percentage with alcohol present (at 22%). Of the drugs present marijuana use associated with auto fatalities increased from past years. The report defines drug in four categories: illegal drugs (narcotics, stimulants and hallucinogens), legal non-medical drugs, over the counter and prescription medications. The report focused on illegal drugs and marijuana. In 2015 57% of fatally injured drivers were tested for drugs. Of this 57%, 34 % were illegal drugs, 35.6% marijuana, 9.3 % were amphetamines and 55.1% were other unclassified drugs.
Colorado, one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, had a 48% increase in marijuana related traffic deaths since legalization in 2013. The report also references a survey of Colorado and Washington marijuana users indicating that 43% of those who used marijuana drove under the influence. The reality is regardless of the substance, whether a drug or alcohol, an impaired individual should not decide to drive any vehicle while under the influence.
Arizona has a zero tolerance for the presence of THC and metabolites detected in a driver’s system. Meaning if you are pulled over and tested for THC and metabolites, the State can charge you with driving under the influence. The only exclusion being that medicinal marijuana patient can’t be charged for driving under influence for merely having THC and metabolites in their system, provided the concentrate is not sufficient enough to cause impairment.