STUDY: Australians admit to driving while high and some think it makes them better behind the wheel

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A large scale survey of Australians shows that many admit to sometimes driving while under the influence of drugs and some believe that makes them a better driver.

A National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) internet poll of more than 4,600 people shows that of those who have recently used cannabis almost 70% have driven while still under the influence.

More than 2,200 said they used cannabis within the past 12 months and 16% indicated they have driven daily within five hours of using.

Another 25% have driven weekly or monthly, with some commenting they feel cannabis makes them slower and better drivers.

Peter Gates, a senior researcher, says the attitudes directly contradict a wealth of scientific research.

“While many stoned drivers think cannabis makes them slower and more careful, it’s important to remember it’s not just speed that kills,” Dr Gates says.

“We know cannabis use compromises reaction time, decision-making, time and distance perception, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, and concentration while driving.

“This can only mean your basic driving skills are dramatically diminished when using cannabis – even if you’re sitting under the speed limit.”

The majority of cannabis users remain ignorant or sceptical of the considerable dangers of driving while high.

There is a growing focus on drug driving, not just drink driving, by state and territory police across Australia.

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