Stoned Driving on the Increase in San Diego

Stoned Driving on the Increase in San Diego

It is prohibited to ride a vehicle being high

“As I saw them smoke marijuana, I saw their inhibitions go down. And I saw that the speed of their vehicle, as they smoked more marijuana, increased. Inhibitions become reduced the more and more you become under the influence, whether it’s alcohol or some other type of drug. We have seen many reckless driver situations that turn deadly.”

~ Steve Lykins, Executive Director, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, San Diego County

Americans now spend an estimated 15 BILLION hours a year under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.  That creates a problem because there is a widespread – and completely incorrect – belief among users that pot doesn’t have an effect on their driving.


  • Drivers with THC in their blood are twice as likely to be responsible for a fatal automobile accident as someone who has not used alcohol or drugs.
  • Likewise, they are up to seven times more likely to be culpable for any kind of car crash.
  • When alcohol and marijuana are used together, the negative impact on driving is worse than when either substance is used alone.
  • When used together, the risk of being involved in fatal accident rises eightfold.

And while recreational marijuana in California is still new enough that state-specific numbers are available, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are revealing:

  • In states where marijuana is illegal, the drug is involved in fatal traffic accidents just 16% of the time.
  • In states with legalized medical marijuana—21%
  • In states where recreational marijuana is legal—up to 31%

San Diego Law Enforcement is Cracking Down

“We’re checking for active THC in the system. The officer will rule out alcohol first and then they have a completely separate test for drugs, marijuana, and THC.”

~ Officer Mark McCullough, San Diego Police Department

Local law enforcement in the San Diego area is cracking down.  With $5 million in new federal funds, a new task force has been created to specifically focus on drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, illicit drugs, legal marijuana, and even impairing medications.

For the record, it has always been illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Now, the San Diego police department has a new tool to detect drugged driving – the Drager 5000. And although it is known as the “marijuana breathalyzer”, this device can actually test for many other substances, including cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and methadone.

Depending on the driver’s history, a DUI in San Diego carries stiff maximum penalties:

  • $1000 fine
  • 3 years in prison
  • 4 years license revocation
  • Mandatory substance abuse treatment
  • Vehicle impoundment

In 2017, 36 people died and another 4,608 were injured on roadways of  the City of San Diego. 

The best way to protect yourself, your freedom, and other people on the road is to not drink or use drugs before getting behind the wheel.  However, if you can’t control when you use, you may need professional help.

If you live in Southern California, Lasting Recovery is your most-trusted local resource.  As one of the top outpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs in San Diego, Lasting Recovery can help you safely and successfully regain your sobriety.

To get help NOW, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.

Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”