This November, California voters will decide whether the state should legalize
recreational marijuana. Amid concerns about an uptick in drugged driving,
researchers at Stanford University have developed a device capable of
detecting the presence of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
As we have
previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, drugged driving is a growing safety concern. In 2014, the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Roadside Survey of Alcohol
and Drug Use by Drivers found that approximately 20 percent of drivers
tested positive for at least one drug. A California study found more than
one quarter (26.5 percent) of drivers testing positive for marijuana also
tested positive for at least one other drug.
Marijuana use by California drivers is expected to increase if the drug
is legalized, yet law enforcement still does not have a quick and reliable
way to determine if drivers are impaired. However, a solution could be
on the way.
According to a Stanford University press release, researchers repurposed
magnetic nanotechnology, previously used to screen for cancer, to create
a device that detects THC molecules in saliva. Stanford touts the device
as a practical “potalyzer” because it can quickly detect not
just the presence of THC, but also measure its concentration.
“Researchers… have zeroed in on saliva because testing it
is less invasive and because THC in saliva may correlate with impairment
better than THC in urine or blood,” the news release stated.
As San Diego injury lawyers, we are encouraged that police may soon have
effective tools to determine whether Californians are driving under the
influence. We will also be closely following legislation that would set
the legal limit at 5 nanograms per milliliter.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California car
accident caused by a drugged driver, don’t hesitate to contact
a personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free
consultation. Relying on more than 30 years of legal experience, we are
dedicated to protecting the rights of California injury victims.