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      Central Square woman accused of smoking bong while driving on I-81

      Lauren Roach

      A Central Square woman is accused of smoking marijuana while driving on Interstate 81 in the middle of the day.

      State police say a driver spotted Lauren Roach, 29, of Central Drive, tailgating another car and smoking a bong on Interstate 81 in Cicero. It happened around 3:43 p.m. Thursday.

      Roach was later pulled over and charged with criminal possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.

      She was issued an appearance ticket and released to a family member.

      If you didn't think this was serious, consider this. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the short-term effects of marijuana include: problems with memory and learning, distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch), trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor coordination and increased heart rate.

      NIH researchers say marijuana can effect on our ability to drive safely, impacting alertness, concentration, coordination, and reaction time. It can make it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road.

      According to the NIH, data shows that while smoking marijuana, people show the same lack of coordination on standard drunk driver tests as do people who have had too much to drink.

      In fact, an extensive study of drivers involved in deadly crashes finds driving after smoking even a small amount of marijuana almost doubles the risk of a deadly crash on the highway. Read more about the dangers here.

      If someone is caught smoking marijuana while driving, do you think it should be a misdemeanor or a felony? Why? Is driving while "high" more or less dangerous than while drunk? Would this happen more or less often if pot were legalized or made more easily available through medical marijuana laws? Have you ever driven while 'high'? Leave your thoughts below.