AAA is warning of the potential impacts that legalization of recreational marijuana could have on Louisiana roadways ahead of the legislative session that begins in March.

AAA spokesperson Don Redman says in the five years prior to the state of Washington legalizing recreational use, 9% of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for THC.

“In those years after it became legalized, that’s from 2013 to 2017, the numbers doubled.  It’s now about 19% of fatal crashes now involve a driver who has been impaired on marijuana,” said Redman.

Redman says lawmakers need to consider the serious ramifications as laws against driving high will be very hard to enforce and impairment tricky to determine once recreational use is legal.

“Most of our parishes, at least half of our DWI arrests involve some form of drug and of course marijuana is absolutely one of those that are being abused,” said Redman.

Redman says drivers are already very nonchalant about toking and driving as 70% think they won’t be caught, and it has the potential to get worse.

“Almost 15 million drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel within an hour of using marijuana in the past thirty days, so it is growing in concern and as Louisiana considers legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, it’s going to have profound effects on the highway,” said Redman.