PKSD Newsletter: Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
In this month’s issue of the PKSD newsletter, our personal injury lawyers address the growing public safety concern surrounding driving while under the influence of marijuana.
As more states throughout the country continue to legalize the use of the drug, the number of traffic fatalities involving drivers high on marijuana has also increased.
According to a report from AAA, the percentage of drivers in Washington who used marijuana hours before a fatal crash doubled between 2013 and 2014. In Colorado, 10 percent of drivers tested positive for the drug in 2011, compared to just 5.9 percent in 2009.
Despite these notable increases, the newsletter notes the conflicting evidence about the effects of marijuana on drivers’ abilities while behind the wheel.
A report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed predictions that legalization could lead to more drivers under the influence of marijuana. The study found that 12.6 percent of 9,000 drivers tested in a roadside survey tested positive for THC in 2014, which is an increase from 8.6 percent in 2007. THC is the principle psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Another NHTSA study, however, found that although drivers with THC in their blood were 25 percent more likely to be involved in an accident, other factors such as ethnicity, gender, age and alcohol were more likely to have caused an accident.
Although four states have legalized the use of marijuana and another 20 have legalized its use for medicinal purposes, much debate remains about the influence that this drug has on drivers and how best to determine if a driver is impaired by marijuana.
Marijuana is currently illegal in the state of Wisconsin and the state’s impaired driving laws have zero tolerance for the presence of THC in a driver’s blood.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving an impaired driver, whether under the influence of drugs or alcohol, our skilled car accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.
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