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AAA says marijuana testing for drivers is flawed

California drivers may be interested in a study commissioned by AAA that looked at how six states test whether drivers are impaired by marijuana. According to the study there is no scientific basis for the tests used in five of the states.

The organization says marijuana use cannot be compared to alcohol use because there is not a clear point at which people become too impaired to drive. Instead, its effects can be very dependent upon the individual. The level of THC in a person's system does not necessarily predict how impaired the person will be. Further complicating things is the fact that active THC may dissipate quickly, particularly among occasional users, while more frequent users might carry a more regular level of it in their bloodstream.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has suggested using specially trained officers to determine if a person is impaired accompanied by testing for the presence of THC but without naming a specific threshold. However, a New York University professor suggests instead that driving under the influence of marijuana should be made a traffic violation. He points to statistics showing that the risk of an accident when a driver has smoked or ingested marijuana is far less than when the driver has been drinking or using even a hands-free cellphone.

California laws do not specify a legal limit although they prohibit driving under the influence of marijuana. With marijuana laws changing rapidly across states, laws about driving under its influence may also be in flux for some time. A person who is facing charges related to impaired driving may want to have the help of an attorney in combating them. One strategy could be to challenge the actual traffic stop itself as lacking probable cause.

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