Relaxed Marijuana Laws—and Drivers–May Lead to More Accidents

Driving while high on marijuana comes with all the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol or another drug. And although it may be difficult to detect, law enforcement officials are becoming much more well-trained in methods for dealing with stoned drivers. It may now be legal for medical marijuana users to ingest cannabis if they suffer from debilitating illnesses, but it is not okay for them to drive while high under any circumstances.

The public perception—and this is growing around the US—is that marijuana in all its many forms is becoming more acceptable to use daily. This may lead more drivers who are users to hop in their cars and drive while high than ever before as they are led to believe, erroneously, that they have more control than they would if they had been imbibing in alcohol. They may have been drinking too, which makes the situation even worse. States like Colorado have established state laws for legal amounts of THC in the blood, but law enforcement officials overall are simply having to become much more adept at recognizing the signs as they pull drivers over, often for other offenses too other than the typical weaving in lanes.

While drivers who are high may not be three sheets to the wind (or appear so, anyway), after smoking marijuana in comparison to drinking, their reflexes may be impaired, and they may be inclined to take dangerous risks that they would not ordinarily take, endangering everyone’s lives on the roads. In recent news, David Harkey of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute points out that there are definitely risks in operating a vehicle after smoking marijuana, and there are even greater concerns without a simple way to test for THC in the blood.

“It’s certainly early in the game,” Harkey told NBC News. But in a recent interview he also warned, “We’re seeing a trend in the wrong direction.”

Recent studies by the IIHS have demonstrated that states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington with legalized recreational marijuana are showing an increase of car crashes up to six percent.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.