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Cannabis And Car Accidents

By Karnas Law Firm |

The use of cannabis has become increasingly common in the U.S., especially in states that have legalized recreational or medical usage. The drug is known to alter perceptions and cause an individual’s mind to wander, though such effects vary based on dosage and other factors like tolerance. This can be both a positive and negative influence on drivers; for example, studies on medicinal marijuana users report increased feelings of sleepiness while driving.

On the other hand, one study found that individuals who consumed marijuana had a 22% lower chance of being involved in a car accident than those who had not. If you get into an accident where one driver is experiencing a cannabis high, you should seek legal assistance from a Tucson Accident Attorney.

What are the Statistics?

In a 2010 study, ten states with medical marijuana laws had traffic fatalities that were 16 percent lower than other states. They also experienced 24 percent fewer fatal accidents involving alcohol. A 2013 study found similar results: Researchers at Columbia University s Mailman School of Public Health determined that the enactment of medical marijuana laws is associated with a nearly nine percent decline in traffic fatalities.

The overall number of car accidents had declined considerably since the early 1990s when roughly 60 fatal crashes occurred for every 100 million miles driven. In 2016, that rate had dropped to 1.16 fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, representing a steady decline from previous years.

Is Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis Illegal?

Yes. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, marijuana has been involved in 14 percent of all fatal car crashes since 2013, three times higher than the number who tested positive for alcohol. The 2016 report also indicated that over 20 percent of drivers killed in car accidents tested positive for THC. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana in all 50 states.

What are the Consequences of Caught Driving Under the Influence?

In Tucson, Arizona, if you are caught driving under the influence of cannabis and charged with a DUI, you will likely face misdemeanor or felony charges. You can also lose your driver’s license your car and even be sued for damages to pay for injuries and property damage. A first-time offender may be charged up to $10,000 in fines along with jail time.

How Does THC Affect Driving?

The two main psychoactive compounds in cannabis are THC and CBD. The latter compound has been known to have anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, and pain-relieving properties. Studies on the effects of THC on driving performance have yielded mixed results. Some studies show a correlation between THC concentration in the blood and slower reaction times. Other research, however, indicates that marijuana does not have a significant effect on one’s ability to stay within a lane or maintain a constant speed.

In summary, driving while under the influence of cannabis can have serious consequences. Despite this, research has shown that car accident fatalities are lower in areas where medical marijuana is legalized. Marijuana users should be aware of these risks when deciding whether or not to use the drug before driving. If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, contact a car accident lawyer.

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