While DUID, driving under the influence of drugs and DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol, involve similar laws and penalties, current research indicates that stoned drivers may be 10 times less dangerous than drunk drivers. Detecting stoned drivers is also much more difficult for law enforcement. While standard roadside field sobriety tests reportedly catch 88% of drunk drivers only 30% of people under the influence of marijuana fail the test. Marijuana’s contribution to crash risk is also apparently much lower than was expected. While drunk drivers tend to drive faster and overestimate their skills, studies have shown the opposite is true for stoned drivers. After all, Cheech and Chong were arrested for doing 20 miles an hour on the freeway!
The legalization of marijuana in Colorado is certain to give rise to many valid legal defenses to a charge of DUID, driving under the influence of drugs. Prosecution of these cases may be much more difficult than originally assumed by law enforcement.
Source: The New York Times, “Driving Under the Influence, of Marijuana,” Maggie Koerth-Baker, Feb. 17, 2014