Drugged Drivers Believe It’s 'More Acceptable' Than Drunk Driving

By May Wilkerson 05/26/15

A survey of UK drivers found that driving while high is more socially acceptable.


Drugged driving is “much more acceptable” than drunk driving, according to people who use drugs before taking the wheel.

A UK government study found that most drivers believe substances like marijuana, cocaine, and MDMA don’t impair their ability to drive safely. They also don’t believe they will be pulled over in the first place.

Research suggests driving under the influence of drugs is about as common as driving under the influence of alcohol, though exact statistics aren’t available. It is estimated that driving while high or stoned may be responsible for up to 200 deaths in the United Kingdom each year.

The latest study, commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT), was based on in-depth interviews with drivers who admitted to drugged driving, and their friends and passengers.

Some people surveyed claimed that marijuana actually decreased their chances of an accident by helping them stay calm. Others said cocaine made them drive better by keeping them more alert and attentive to the road. Most agreed that driving on drugs is more socially acceptable than drunk driving.

“We do it every day. We just roll one for the way back [from work] and share it as we go along,” said one driver, who regularly smokes pot before and while driving. “We know it is wrong, but you know it isn’t that wrong. It seems normal.”

The UK tightened the law on drugged driving last month, permitting cops to test for marijuana and cocaine with a roadside saliva swab. Drivers found guilty can face a $7,500 fine, up to six months in jail, and a year-long driving ban.

“It is worrying that drug drivers don’t think they are as dangerous as drink drivers,” said Edmund King, president of the UK’s Automobile Association. “For some this may be because their drug use is a lifestyle choice so they don’t consider the consequences. We need to get the message out there that drug driving is as dangerous and socially irresponsible as drunk driving.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.