A recent study by the Center for Health and Safety Culture in the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University found one in ten drivers in Washington state have driven under the influence of alcohol or cannabis, which Washington voters legalized in 2012. That number might seem reassuring until you understand why many those inebriated drivers chose to get behind the wheel.
The study - which was sponsored by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission - also found that those one-in-ten drivers were more likely to believe cannabis can help sober them up after drinking alcohol. They also tend to believe that getting high makes them "calmer" and better able to “respond to unexpected events” on the road.
"[This] is completely the opposite of what we want people thinking," Mark Medalen -Program Manager for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission - told The Spokesman-Review. "It's just not true."
The highest proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Washington between 2008 and 2016 have tested positive for poly-drug consumption, the most prominent combination of substances being cannabis and alcohol. Since 2012 the number of poly-drug related crashes has increased 15 percent per year.
The issue also appears to be largely a male issue, with men being three times more likely then women to drive after consuming multiple substances. Additionally, the frequency with which a person consumes cannabis doesn't seem to have much affect on whether they choose to drive under the influence or not.