Voters in Washington and Colorado on Tuesday legalizing
recreational use of marijuana, but that doesn't make drugged
driving in those states legal.
Both states -- as well as the 17 where medicinal use is approved
-- penalize stoned drivers the same way they do drunken
Washington's ballot measure establishes a concentration of 5
nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of
blood as proof of impaired driving. Backers of
say a marijuana smoker who lets several hours pass before getting
behind the wheel should fall beneath that standard. But most other
states - where marijuana is still considered an illegal substance
-- have a zero-tolerance standard.
Among the notable backers of the legalization measures was Peter
B. Lewis, the chairman of Progressive Insurance.
A DUI is still a downer
Those who are convicted of impaired driving face major legal and
financial issues. CarInsurance.com's "
What's Your Limit
?" tool, though geared toward those planning to drink, spells out
the state by state penalties for a DUI conviction.
In most states, a driver convicted of a first-offense DUI is
required to spend at least some time in jail -- 24 to 72 hours is
common. Fines can reach $5,000. You'll lose your license in many
places for a year.
You usually must file an
-- an insurance company's guarantee to the state that you are
carrying the mandatory coverage. The form is cheap, but the fact
that you are required to have one is a huge red flag to insurance
At least you won't face a possession charge.
You will, however, have to pay a huge penalty for insurance. Car
don't really care
what you ingested, only that you have a conviction on your driving
You should expect your insurance rates to double for as long as
the DUI is on your record; in most states, that's three years.
We ran auto insurance quotes on basic liability and personal
injury protection for a 24-year-old woman in Seattle driving a 2005
Honda Accord EX to and from work, with no prior violations. After
adding a DUI conviction, the cheapest rate we found rose from $742
a year to $1,608.