NEWTON (CBS) – Marijuana is now legal in Massachusetts but there is still no legal standard to determine if someone is too stoned to drive. And that inspired a Newton psychologist to develop an app to try to make the roads safer.
“My goal is to make Druid the gold standard for impairment testing,” explained Michael Milburn. He began work on the app “Druid” right after voters legalized pot in 2016.
“Our current biological measures of cannabis use and inferred impairment don’t really work and so, I thought it was really important to measure actual impairment,” said Milburn.
For $3.99 anyone can have impairment testing in the palm of their hand. Users are asked to complete four tasks in two minutes testing hand-eye coordination, multi-tasking, and balance.
“People will say ‘that’s a challenging app’ and to which I say, driving is a challenging task and you have to have all your wits about you,” he told WBZ-TV.
The app then delivers a score that may indicate if someone is too impaired to drive. The impairment score also comes with an important message – If you feel impaired, you should not drive, regardless of what the Druid test indicates.
In order for Druid to detect a level of impairment users must first develop a baseline by completing the challenge completely sober a few times. This tailors the app specifically to the user since the effects of cannabis can vary widely from person to person.
“But the exciting thing about my whole Druid project is there are all sorts of other applications,” Millburn said.
He claims the app isn’t simply for marijuana impairment but anything that may affect your reaction time behind the wheel like alcohol, prescription drugs, or even exhaustion.
“If my app persuades impaired people not to drive then I may have saved their life.”