Safe Driving in Virginia
Don't drive high. Consume cannabis responsibly.
A 2022 survey by the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) revealed that 46% of Virginians have used marijuana in their lifetime. That may not be surprising given the legalization in 2021 of public possession (up to one ounce) and limited home cultivation (up to four plants). However, the survey findings also uncovered alarming data that two in five marijuana consumers use marijuana away from home at least once a week and 14% have driven high a few times or more in the past year. These risky behaviors threaten public safety and health and must be reduced. Those who drive high need to better understand the negative impact marijuana has on their abilities behind the wheel.
Safe driving perceptions and the dangers of driving high
The 2022 survey indicated that 30% of Virginians believe those who consume marijuana are usually safer drivers. This perception does not square with what is known about the physical effects of driving high. Simply stated, when you feel different, you drive different. Getting high negatively affects drivers by:
- Slowing reaction time.
- Altering decision making.
- Impairing coordination.
- Disrupting perception.
To keep you and your community safe, make a plan to use responsibly and find alternative transportation (e.g., a sober friend or driving service) if you use marijuana and need to be on the road.
Driving high could lead to a DUI: The consequences of driving under the influence
Before you get behind the wheel, know it is illegal in Virginia to drive under the influence of marijuana, or to use marijuana while operating a motor vehicle or while traveling as a passenger. A first-time offense could lead to:
- One year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500
- $250 mandatory fine
- Loss of driver's license for one year
Additional offenses may result in more severe fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. The consequences for driving high are serious because the dangers of marijuana-impaired driving are serious; driving while high is a hazard to everyone who shares the road. Think of others and your own well-being and think twice before driving high.
Make a plan and play it safe
If you're going to use marijuana and get high:
- Find a sober driver.
- Consume at home.
- Walk home after consuming.
- Call a rideshare service.
- Wait it out.
- Encourage friends and family to make responsible driving choices.
CCA safe driving campaign details
The CCA launched its safe driving campaign in January 2023. Mandated by the 2021 General Assembly and consistent with the CCA's mission to promote public health and public safety, the campaign aims to inform cannabis users and the general public of the dangers of driving while high, including the negative legal consequences of a DUI, and to encourage plans for a sober ride.
Go deep: See more data from the 2022 study about Virginia drivers and cannabis consumption.
Join us in promoting responsible and safe driving.
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significance of safe, unimpaired driving. Your assistance in sharing these materials is vital to
protecting public safety and raising crucial awareness about the dangers of driving under the
influence. Let's build a community committed to keeping our roads safe.
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