After examining some 3,600 car accidents, researchers have found that alcohol is approximately 10-times more likely to cause fatal car crashes than marijuana. University of Lyon researchers studied data from every fatal crash in France in 2011, and published the study in the journal PLOS-One.
The researchers determined that in comparison to sober drivers, “drivers under the influence of alcohol are 17.8 times more likely to be responsible for a fatal accident,” while those driving under the influence of marijuana are only 1.65 times more likely.
Another recent investigation has indicated that these numbers are in line with actual risks. Journalist David Bienenstock performed an investigation earlier this year where he looked at drugged driving. His findings indicate that drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 were 293% more likely to be in an accident than sobers drivers, and drivers with marijuana in their system were 5% more likely. Furthermore, texting is even more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol, with findings of a 310% increased risk of a crash.
The French researchers said, “Past investigations have shown a decreased capacity of drivers under the influence of cannabis, in particular a decrease in attention, increased reaction time and reduced ability to control direction. Drivers under the influence of alcohol tend to drive faster, which goes hand-in-hand with an over-estimation of their own capacities whereas drivers under the influence of cannabis tend to drive more cautiously.”
From this research, both texting while driving as well as driving under the influence of alcohol are significantly more dangerous than driving under the influence of marijuana. But sobriety is still the safest way to drive.