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Will regulating drugged driving make North Carolina any safer?

Across the country, states are debating the issue of whether or not there is a safe amount of marijuana-related impairment for drivers and whether it should be regulated. On one hand, setting a limit similar to blood-alcohol levels may make sense to some people. On the other hand, setting a limit may have no effect on the behavior since most drivers who are suspected of drugged driving will face criminal charges, such as drug possession, anyway.

In North Carolina, driving while impaired is illegal. There is the argument, however, that marijuana takes significantly longer to leave the body's system when compared to alcohol. This means that just because it is present in the body does not mean a driver is still impaired. Other states are addressing this very issue and trying to determine how to fairly judge whether or not a person is too drugged to drive.

Most recently, Colorado has rejected a marijuana blood limit for drivers. The proposed bill would allow drivers to have less than 5 nanograms of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, per milliliter of blood. Above that, it would be objectively concluded that a person was under the influence and should not be driving. The proposed law failed in the state.

As it is now, most states rely on the observations of an officer to determine whether or not a driver is impaired. This is quite subjective, however.

It has been recommended by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy that all states adopt a blood-limit and drugged driving laws by the year 2015. So far, only two states have adopted an allowable limit for driving.

What do you think? Will laws that are passed specifying allowable blood-limits help to reduce the amount of accidents caused by drugged drivers? Or do you think that there are already enough punishments in place for the use and possession of marijuana?

Source: The Huffington Post, "Marijuana DUI Bill Dies: State Senate Rejects Bill After House Approval," Kristen Wyatt, May 15, 2012

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