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Innocorp, a company known for creating tools to simulate the experience of impaired driving, recently tested a new tool that simulates driving while under the influence of marijuana.  The simulation was on a closed course and involved drivers using a pedal car to go through once as normal and once wearing the marijuana impairment goggles.

Cones on the course were lit up with a variety of different colored lights, each light meaning a different course of action.  The marijuana goggles caused the drivers to see the course as a person impaired with marijuana might see the road — red lights couldn’t be seen at all, blue and green looked to be the same color, perception was slightly altered, etc.  Drivers generally slowed down while wearing the googles, second guessing themselves as they tried to make sense of what they were seeing, in turn causing a delayed decision-making and reaction time.  These effects mimic what an individual under the influence of marijuana might experience.

While someone under the influence of marijuana might not have the same experience as those wearing the marijuana impairment goggles, the end result is the same – whether an individual is mentally missing information or visually missing information, the result is slower decision making and reaction times.

The hardest part for the participants of the study?  An “un-impaired” driver following them, honking whenever the “impaired” driver made an incorrect decision.  Test subjects stated that they were already second-guessing any and all decisions they made while wearing the goggles, and the addition of a driver behind them and bystanders pointing out all the mistakes they were making made it even harder to focus on driving well.  Similarly, when a person is under the influence of marijuana they experience divided attention failure – they are unable to take in the whole picture and synthesize what they are seeing into actions.

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