More than 14 million Americans admit to having driven within an hour of smoking marijuana in the past 30 days, according to a report released Thursday by the American Automobile Association.
The report found Americans approve of driving under the influence of marijuana at higher rates than other dangerous behaviors.
The survey showed 7 percent of Americans reported approval for driving after recently using marijuana, whereas only 3 percent approved of prescription drug-impaired driving and less than 2 percent approved of alcohol impaired and drowsy driving.
David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said marijuana can yield significantly later reaction times and impair a driver's judgement.
"Yet, many drivers don’t consider marijuana-impaired driving as risky as other behaviors like driving drunk or talking on the phone while driving," Yang said in the AAA release. “It is important for everyone to understand that driving after recently using marijuana can put themselves and others at risk.”
The impetus to drive under the influence of marijuana may be influenced by a widely-shared view that drivers won't get in trouble for the act.
Nearly 70 percent of Americans think it's unlikely a driver will get caught by police for driving while high on marijuana, according to the AAA survey.
The AAA said it recommends all motorists avoid driving while impaired by marijuana or other substances, adding that.
"Just because a drug is legal does not mean it is safe to use while operating a motor vehicle," the AAA said.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing recreational marijuana.
The survey results are part of the AAA Foundation's annual Traffic Safety Culture Index. The data was collected from a sample of 2,582 licensed drivers age 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days.