Marijuana Breathalyzer May Hit Market Later This Year

marijuana-breathalyzerEveryone knows you shouldn’t drink and drive, but some people still think it’s OK to smoke marijuana and get behind the wheel. With some states legalizing the drug, drugged driving is becoming a big problem all across North America. A few entrepreneurs are taking steps to get a handle on drugged driving across Canada and the United States by developing a marijuana-detecting breathalyzer.

Although all 50 states have some form of drugged driving law, there isn’t a common consensus on how much is too much for driving. Unlike the hard and fast rule of .08 for drinking and driving, without a roadside breathalyzer, the amount of drug in a driver’s system tends to be harder to quantify. Law enforcement currently rely on roadside sobriety tests to check for drugged driving,

To obtain a conviction for drugged driving, most states use a ‘per se’ type of law, meaning that if any detectable amount of controlled substance like marijuana is found in the driver’s bodily fluids, that driver can be charged with a drugged driving violation. In states where marijuana is legal, the laws get a little more specific. Colorado’s drugged driving laws state that when THC is in the driver’s blood in quantities of 5ng/ml or higher, law enforcement can infer that the person is under the influence.

Random roadside saliva tests for marijuana use is being used in parts of Europe and Australia, but the concern using saliva testing in the United States is that it can be construed as infringing on the driver’s civil liberties and that the test itself isn’t accurate. A recent provision in a Michigan bill would have allowed law enforcement to use roadside saliva tests, but it was removed until research shows the tests work for all drugs.

The roadside marijuana breathalzyer currently being developed is called the Cannabix Breathalyzer, and it will work in as little as a few minutes. Information obtained from the breathalyzer will allow the officers to know immediately if the person driving has consumed marijuana in the past two or three hours, and may be able to assist in obtaining a conviction for drugged driving.

Tests are currently on-going for the new breathalyzer device, and although there may be opposition to how accurate the device is, it may hit the market as quickly as later this year.

Text While Driving? A Ticket Is The Least Of Your Worries

Text While DrivingIt’s so tempting to pick up the phone when you’re driving. When it’s ringing or your alerts are beeping, what’s on the road in front of you seems to be less important than finding out who is trying to get in touch with you. But having your cell phone in your hand and choosing to text while driving means you aren’t paying attention to the road, and if you’re caught texting while driving in Connecticut law enforcement are ready, willing, and able to give you a ticket.

A new distracted driving campaign crackdown called “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” has begun in Connecticut, and within the first hour of setting up a checkpoint, law enforcement pulled over a dozen people and cited them for distracted driving.

But receiving a ticket should be the least of your worries if you choose to text while driving. One of the reasons you’re seeing an increase in law enforcement ticketing drivers who use cell phone is that distracted driving has serious consequences, not just for you but for the people on the road with you. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has statistics that show over 420,000 people were hurt in distracted driving crashes in 2012, and distraction is a key factor in over 4 million crashes in North America every year.

Although adults fall into the category of distracted drivers, teens are the category of drivers who are most likely to text while driving, and they’re dying because of it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 45% of the 2000 teens involved in distracted driving crashes in 2011 were killed.

The summer roads are busier than ever, and that means hundreds of distracted drivers could be talking or texting as you drive down the highway with them. Law enforcement across the country is working to keep you safe by cracking down on cell phone use while driving, and you can help by putting your phone safely away before getting behind the wheel.

Alcohol + Poultry in Motion = Bad Idea

It’s the old story: a driver, alcohol, and a chicken wing.

In Suwanee County, Florida recently, a drunk driver veered onto the shoulder of the road, then over-corrected and found his car pointing the wrong way on the road. He corrected again – right into a tree.

Just another standard drunk-driving accident, one of thousands that happen each day on our nation’s roads.

The only difference was that the driver was eating chicken wing at the time of the crash. There are lots of things that can distract a driver:

Chicken wings and driving don't mix

  • Texting and phoning
  • Pets in the car
  • Internal electronics – navigation systems, stereos, climate controls
  • Reaching for things that have fallen on the floor – always a bad idea
  • External distractions, such as street activity

To that we must add chicken wings. Or, more broadly, eating while driving.

The driver in question was munching on the wing while driving under the influence of alcohol. That’s begging for an accident. Which he got. Fortunately, neither he nor anyone else was killed. But it could easily have happened, with both his judgment impaired and attention distracted.

The lesson: do not drink while driving. Do not eat while driving.

Or the wings you end up with might not be chicken.

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