The number of Texans testing positive for cannabis after a traffic accident has gone up over the last few years. Trouble is, there’s no quick, reliable test to determine if they’re driving while high.
Marijuana is the No. 1 illegal drug in crashes
There are classic signs someone might be driving drunk: weaving, speeding, sudden turns. Sgt. Matthew Dusek says clues that someone is stoned are a bit different.
“Maybe running stop signs, stopping either too soon or too far behind a red light or when the light changes, problems with perception with distances and timing. So very close to a distracted driver on the phone,” he says.
Dusek is a Drug Recognition Expert with Northeast Police Department in the Denton County town of Krugerville. He says most police officers aren’t experienced enough to recognize marijuana impairment. He worries that could be a problem for public safety.
“Alcohol is the No. 1 drug we see in DWIs and crashes,” Dusek says. “The No. 1 illegal drug is marijuana, and it’s becoming increasingly prevalent.”
While fewer people are driving after drinking, more are driving with some sort of marijuana product in their bloodstream, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Over the last few years, more and more Texans are testing positive for cannabis after a traffic accident. In 2012 there were nearly 170 crashes where a driver tested positive. By 2016 that increased to nearly 300.