Last year, the State of California legalized recreational marijuana, which means that anyone age 21 and older can purchase and use marijuana. It must be done responsibly because, like alcohol, marijuana can impair drivers’ ability to drive safely.
Evidence shows that marijuana can compromise a driver’s judgment, motor coordination concentration, and perception of time and distance. Additionally, marijuana use puts drivers at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, which can result in a devastating crash at full speed.
How prevalent is stoned driving?
According to researchers from the University of Michigan Addiction Center, roughly one in five patients who use medical marijuana admit driving while under the influence. The study surveyed Michigan adults who were trying to obtain medical marijuana certification or recertification in 2014 and 2015. Participants were asked about their driving habits within the past six months.
The study found:
- 56 percent of respondents reported driving within two hours of using marijuana
- 51 percent admitted to driving while mildly high
- 21 percent admitted to driving while very high
Research indicates that traffic fatalities went up temporarily by one additional death per one million people in three states that approved recreational marijuana: Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. This also impacted neighboring states, which experienced an additional 170 deaths within six months after cannabis become legal. After about a year, the traffic fatality rates dropped back down to normal levels.
The study suggests that the increase in traffic fatalities may be due to an influx of people inexperienced with cannabis use.
When the worst happens, our attorneys can help
Currently, there is no available method to accurately determine if a driver is under the influence of marijuana. Additionally, there is not enough research that can determine if cannabis legalization is a factor in traffic accidents.
If you have been injured in a crash, determining whether marijuana was a factor may be difficult. If the police officer who responds to your crash believes that the at-fault driver was under the influence of marijuana, a blood test may be administered.
These details would be included in your crash report and can be beneficial to your car accident claim. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney at Clancy & Diaz, LLP can review the details regarding your crash and use the evidence to help you maximize your compensation.
Contact us today to schedule your free, no obligation case evaluation.