Eight in Ten Rate Driving and Smoking Marijuana as being Extremely Unsafe

However, Driving while Texting and Driving While Taking “Selfies” Seen as Significantly More Dangerous

Marijuana has long been a topic of debate and controversy in America, and despite the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana use in some states, many Americans continue to uphold certain views and attitudes as to the perceived dangers of marijuana use. However, when it comes to creating unsafe driving conditions, Americans see many poor decisions can lead to unsafe driving, recognizing the danger posed by not only marijuana, but also cell phones, alcohol, and prescription medications when used behind the wheel.

Ipsos tested several concepts on a scale of 1 (completely safe) to 5 (extremely unsafe) in order to measure how Americans rate certain behaviors when it comes to driving. Looking specifically at driving while under the influence of marijuana, 81% of respondents rate this behavior as being extremely unsafe (rated 4, 5) – although this is especially true among women (82% vs. 79%, men), older respondents (89%, 55+ vs. 73%, 18-34), the more affluent (83% vs. 77%, less than $50,000), and those with a college degree (84% vs. 78%, no college degree).

Furthermore, respondents who report having never used marijuana (89%) are also significantly more likely to rate this behavior as unsafe compared to those who report having used marijuana at least once in their life (71%).


Being under the influence of alcohol is ranked as being more dangerous than driving under the influence of marijuana, regardless of whether a person is deemed extremely over the legal limit for alcohol use (93%) or slightly over the legal limit (85%). Driving after taking prescription pain killers like oxycodone (such as OxyContin, Percocets, etc.) falls in-line with America attitudes towards drinking and driving, with 87% of respondents rating this behavior as unsafe.

The presence of technology in vehicles today also makes for unsafe behavior, with more than nine in ten Americans classifying taking a selfie while driving (92%) or texting while driving (91%) as being unsafe. Another seven in ten (71%) further rate talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device as being unsafe while driving.

For a copy of this blog that includes the full methodology, please click here.