Law enforcement seeing increase in stoned drivers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Law enforcement seeing increase in stoned drivers

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The chances that the driver next to you on the interstate is stoned are increasing every day, and even worse, those stoned drivers are convinced they're doing nothing wrong. 

As we continue to see state after state legalize or decriminalize pot, the messages might be getting crossed. Officers are starting to see a huge increase in the number of stoned drivers.

"The DUI laws have not changed. You're either impaired or you're not," says Lt. Anthony Gallo with the Savannah Metro Police Traffic Department.

Georgia State Patrol Trooper Daniel Chernich says driving is a divided attention task. In their tests, they divide the driver's attention to see if they're able to multi-task. These sobriety tests go beyond walking a straight line. Their concept of time also dissolves. 

Transportation studies show regular pot smokers will drive high 17 times per month.

"How often would you say you drive high,' we asked one pot user. "Probably 70 percent, honestly, not gonna lie," she responded.

"Do you notice a difference when you drive sober and high,' we asked. "I feel like I'm a better driver high," she says.

When we asked another driver how often he smokes, he said 'every day.' When we asked how many times, he said 'two or three.'

"Do you think your driving is as impaired as it is if you were to be drunk driving as you are high driving,' we asked. "No - definitely not. I would never drive drunk. My motor skills are terrible. My motor skills don't change when I'm high."

Trooper Chernich says people will have that false sense of confidence; confidence they see in both drunk drivers and high drivers every day. He says he's seen more cases of impairment driving high this past year than he has in his whole career. 

Copyright 2017 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly