An especially notable part of this bill is that states would be creating and implementing their own standards of how to detect
marijuana-impaired driving. Intoxicated drivers who are repeatedly caught behind the wheel would receive civil or criminal penalties (at a minimum). While this seems reasonable enough, it could end in a lot of undeserved DUIs.
When alcohol is the intoxicating factor
, impaired driving is easy to detect. Breathalyzers can accurately test a motorist's blood-alcohol
content can on the side of the road. Plus there is an endless collection of data that connects high levels of blood alcohol to a impaired ability to operate a vehicle. The same cannot be said for marijuana
. As Matt Ferner
"With no fully reliable method of on-site testing for THC, marijuana's
main psychoactive ingredient, law enforcement depends on blood and urine
samples to determine if an individual has too much THC in the
bloodstream. In Colorado, for instance, 'too much' is defined as 5 nanograms.
But because THC remains in the blood stream for an extended period of
time, a regular user could test over the limit while not being high or
physically impaired. Similarly, an infrequent user could test below the
5-nanogram limit while still being too high to drive safely."
So, while the debate over how pot actually effects drivers, critics of this bill are worried that it could mar the driving records of a lot of innocent motorists.
H.R. 4179's supporters argue that while it isn't perfect, there needs to be some regulation on marijuana-impaired driving. Sponsoring Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) noted in his press release:
“As more and more states follow the will of their citizens and implement
regulations to treat marijuana like alcohol, it is vital that we keep
our roads safe and save lives by updating our driving under the
influence laws. The LUCID Act
creates a single federal standard that will protect the public from
impaired drivers and train law enforcement officials to effectively
Media: Sponsoring Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) Press ReleaseHigh TimesThe Colorado ObserverThe Huffington PostVice Motherboard(Photo Credit: The Lexi Cinema)