This Awesome Technology Helps Catch Drivers High on Marijuana

Jan 16, 2017 04:12 PM EST | Ileen Jasmine

Driving high: Colorado officers learning to spot stoned drivers

The Colorado Department of Transportation will unveil a first-of-their-kind series of advertisements aimed at preventing stoned driving. Barry Petersen reports on how the state is working to keep its roadways safe.
(Photo : CBS This Morning)

As more states (and countries) become more open to the idea of legalizing marijuana as a medicinal herb and/or recreational drug, it also triggers the rise of marijuana-impaired driving. This gives the law enforcement a brand-new set of problems to deal with when it comes to vehicular accidents.

With that said, the use of medicinal marijuana has been legal in some states in the U.S. for quite some time now. However, most people who acquire the said plant focuses on using it for recreational activities. This brings out the issue of stoned driving. This opens to a lot of debate amongst law enforcement officials all over the country.

In able to prevent the increase of vehicular accidents caused by "high" driving, each state has to regulate it by the law. As of now, there are several states which have made some great progress when it comes to regulating drugged driving.

States such as Washington and Colorado made it legal to drive with nine nanograms of Tetrahydrocannabinol - commonly known as THC - in the driver's blood. THC is the main substance of marijuana.

More and more states are now considering the pros and cons when it comes to this solution. Several questions still remain - how will police officers determine who's driving high, and how will it be measured?

The process of checking if somebody is high with marijuana proves to be more difficult than testing alcohol impairment. Unlike alcohol, marijuana impairment cannot be measured precisely.

This is mainly due to the fact that THC remains in the user's blood for weeks - or even up to three months after taking pot. While this does not mean it can influence a subject's everyday activities and/or driving abilities, it will still lead to positive testing.

There are several ways this could be tested. All police officers are trained to determine whether a driver is high or drunk, or both. If a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana, the driver would be subjected to take several tests.

This includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, walk and turn test, and the one-leg stand. Should the driver fail the test, he or she will be ordered to undergo a blood, breath, and urine test.

With today's amazing technology, however, Hound Labs is now developing a marijuana breath-test device. This device is designed to help resolve the legal questions about driving while under the influence of recreational drugs. According to Boston Herald, some of its features will include measuring THC in picograms (parts per trillion).

The said device will also be portable and compact, a hand-held piece just about the size of alcohol breath-test devices. It is also expected to cost only the same as alcohol Breathalyzer and is expected to be available on the market towards the end of 2017.

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