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AAA says test for marijuana impairment is flawed

South Carolina drivers may be interested to learn that according to an AAA study, tests that some states where marijuana is legal to determine whether a driver is impaired by marijuana usage are scientifically flawed. The tests measure the amount of THC in a person's body, but this is not a reliable indicator of how impaired a person might be. Five states have set a maximum THC level for determining impairment.

Unlike blood alcohol content, there is no single standard of how much THC leads to dangerous impairment in all users. Furthermore, some states go beyond THC and test for the presence of its metabolites as well, and these can remain in a person's system for several weeks. A person might also be impaired but have low levels of THC by the time testing is done. The result is that impaired drivers may go free while drivers who are safe might be facing charges.

One recommendation is that rather than trying to rely upon a single, flawed test, law enforcement should train certain personnel who can be called in if necessary to recognize signs of impairment. These officers might use many different indicators including looking for pupil dilation and examining the person's behavior.

While marijuana usage is not legal in South Carolina, a person who is facing charges for driving while impaired by either drugs or alcohol may have more choices than simply a guilty plea. An attorney may be able to find flaws in how alcohol testing is done as well. A person's constitutional rights may also be violated in the course of being detained for drunk driving or drug use. This could lead to the entire case being dismissed.

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