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The prohibition of marijuana is slowly eroding in this country. Every election day, more states and cities move to decriminalize or even legalize both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. The changing legal landscape of marijuana use brings with it a number of questions. How will crime rates be affected? Will laws against driving while intoxicated need to be amended? As it stands, many states have a “no tolerance” policy, meaning that if any marijuana is in your bloodstream you can be found guilty of driving while intoxicated.
This is problematic for legalized use of marijuana, since it may be present on a blood test long after a user finishes experiencing cognitive effects or impairment. Further, a recent study concluded that smoking marijuana does not lead to an increased risk of getting in a car accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration surveyed around 9,000 drivers in a nearly two-year long study of alcohol and drug use by drivers. It found that marijuana users were around 25% more likely to be involved in a car crash than a sober driver.
Even so, researchers believe the ages of the affected drivers may have been a bigger correlate than the marijuana use. This is sharply contrasted with driving while under the influence of alcohol. People with a blood alcohol content of .08 are more than 12 times more likely to be involved in a car crash. For an average sized person, this is approximately one drink an hour.
The results of this study, which defined marijuana intoxication as a driver who tested positive for THC, will likely lead to additional research on the effects of marijuana on driving. It will be imperative to craft driving while intoxicated laws and standards that reflect the reality of legalized marijuana use.
Driving is a huge responsibility. People who share the road with you count on you to make careful, cautious, and lawful decisions. If you are under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any other mind altering substance, don’t get behind the wheel. You could be risking your life and your freedom – and endangering the lives of others.
If you have been smoking marijuana within the last several hours, you should not be driving under the influence. Don’t risk a dangerous accident that could be your fault. If you are injured in an accident as a result of someone smoking marijuana, you may need the help of an experienced attorney to help you deal with the insurance company. Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. Call us today at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to see how we may be able to help.