"Another paradigm used to assess crash risk is to use cross-sectional surveys of reported nonfatal accidents that can be related to the presence of risk factors, such as alcohol and cannabis consumption. Such a methodology was employed in a provocative dissertation by Laixuthai (1994). This study used data from two large surveys that were nationally representative of high school students in the United States during 1982 and 1989.
Statistics and data relating to operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant (DUII), also referred to as drugged driving, drunk driving, driving under the influence (DUI), or driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).
"Several studies have examined cannabis use in driving simulator and on-road situations. The most comprehensive review was done by Smiley in 1986 and then again in 1999. Several trends are evident and can be described by three general performance characteristics:
Driving Behavioral Compensation: "Both Australian studies suggest cannabis may actually reduce the responsibility rate and lower crash risk. Put another way, cannabis consumption either increases driving ability or, more likely, drivers who use cannabis make adjustments in driving style to compensate for any loss of skill (Drummer, 1995). This is consistent with simulator and road studies that show drivers who consumed cannabis slowed down and drove more cautiously (see Ward & Dye, 1999; Smiley, 1999.
Driving and THC Levels: "Most of the research on cannabis use has been conducted under laboratory conditions. The literature reviews by Robbe (1994), Hall, Solowij, and Lemon (1994), Border and Norton (1996), and Solowij (1998) agreed that the most extensive effect of cannabis is to impair memory and attention. Additional deficits include problems with temporal processing, (complex) reaction times, and dynamic tracking.
Intoxication Self-Ratings: "Both simulator and road studies showed that relative to alcohol use alone, participants who used cannabis alone or in combination with alcohol were more aware of their intoxication. Robbe (1998) found that participants who consumed 100 g/kg of cannabis rated their performance worse and the amount of effort required greater compared to those who consumed alcohol (0.05 BAC). Ramaekers et al.
Driving After Cannabis Consumption: "Cannabis is only considered a risk factor for traffic accidents if drivers operate vehicles after consuming the drug. Robbe (1994) found that 30% to 90% of his participants were willing to drive after consuming a typical dose of cannabis. This is consistent with a recent Australian survey in which more than 50% of users drove after consuming cannabis (Lenne, Fry, Dietze, & Rumbold, 2000).
Marijuana, Alcohol, and Driving: "When compared to alcohol, cannabis is detected far less often in accident-involved drivers. Drummer et al. (2003) cited several studies and found that alcohol was detected in 12.5% to 79% of drivers involved in accidents. With regard to crash risk, a large study conducted by Borkenstein, Crowther, Shumate, Zeil and Zylman (1964) compared BAC in approximately 6,000 accident-involved drivers and 7,600 nonaccident controls.
Marijuana, Alcohol, and Driving: "As with cannabis, alcohol use increased variability in lane position and headway (Casswell, 1979; Ramaekers et al., 2000; Smiley et al., 1981; Stein et al., 1983) but caused faster speeds (Casswell, 1977; Krueger & Vollrath, 2000; Peck et al., 1986; Smiley et al., 1987; Stein et al., 1983). Some studies also showed that alcohol use alone and in combination with cannabis affected visual search behavior (Lamers & Ramaekers, 2001; Moskowitz, Ziedman, & Sharma, 1976).