Survey shows that only 25% of Virginia drivers believe driving on pot is dangerous.
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Survey shows that only 25% of Virginia drivers believe driving on pot is dangerous.

Virginia authorities have announced the results from a survey about the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving. However, the survey did not go according to plan. Officials stated that the survey revealed “unsettling” attitudes and “alarming attitudes about driving while under the influence of marijuana. Stratacomm, a public relations consulting firm, conducted the survey. It received over 750 responses, representing a cross-section of Virginia residents aged 16 and older. Around 23% of respondents said they had consumed cannabis in the last three months, and 14% of those surveyed claimed to have driven high at least once in the past year. Nearly one-third of respondents believe that cannabis makes them safer drivers. It is important to keep in mind that some respondents are just 16 years old, making it difficult to drive. It might make the loose attitudes about driving safety easier to imagine.The data shows that Virginians do not perceive cannabis-impaired driving to be nearly as dangerous as other risky behaviors–like drinking and driving: 60% of respondents view texting and driving and 49% regard alcohol-impaired driving to be “extremely dangerous,” but only a quarter of Virginians–26%–view cannabis-impaired driving as “extremely dangerous.”The CCA will use the survey results to develop a safe driving campaign mandated by the 2021 General Assembly that will highlight the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving, which is set to launch in January 2023.The CCA has their work cut out for them. “These results are worrying and underscore the General Assembly was right to direct the CCA to undertake a safe driving campaign,” said John Keohane, CCA Board Chair and retired Police Chief of Hopewell, Virginia.”As a public safety and public health agency, the CCA currently has no greater priority than creating a well-funded, aggressive, and sustained campaign aimed at reducing the incidence of marijuana-impaired driving,” added Jeremy Preiss, the CCA’s Acting Head and Chief Officer for Regulatory, Policy, and External Affairs.The findings also suggest that not all Virginians who consume cannabis do it responsibly: 47% of cannabis consumers who were surveyed reported they do not always have a plan for a sober ride and 24% of respondents indicating they have been a passenger in a car operated by a high driver more than once in the past year.”The CCA wants to empower Virginians to make informed decisions about marijuana use and ensure people understand that operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is extremely dangerous,” concluded Brianna Bonat, the CCA’s lead public health official.The CCA invites people who are interested in learning more public health and safety information related to cannabis to visit cannabis.virginia.gov.Efforts to promote safe driving with cannabis are active at the federal level as well. On July 26, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), requested a report on educational campaigns about cannabis and driving. National Alliance to Stop Impaired Driving and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) teamed up to create a playbook for State Highway Safety Offices. A research team from Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal conducted research that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, April 2021. It found similar attitudes and misinformation regarding driving while under the influence of marijuana.

 

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