For many in the United States, April 20 is regarded as the day to celebrate cannabis use. With approximately one-fifth of Americans currently living in states with legal recreational cannabis and new laws set to increase that percentage in the coming years, many are concerned that legalized cannabis use will increase the number of preventable car accidents. Researchers from Canada recently published statistics about traffic fatalities in the United States on April 20 in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study examined 25 years of fatal collision statistics on April 20 versus the fatal collision rates in the surrounding weeks.
Marijuana-Related Car Accident Statistics
The researchers found a 12 percent increase in fatal collisions on April 20, compared with other dates studied. For drivers younger than 21, the rate of fatal collisions on April 20 was 38 percent higher than it was on the two control dates. Overall, the increase in traffic fatalities on April 20 meant an additional 142 fatalities in the 25 years studied. According to a 2011 study of first-year college students in the United States, 44 percent of respondents reported driving shortly after using marijuana at least once in the month prior to the survey. A 2017 Canadian Cannabis Survey found that half of respondents did not think the drug affected their driving ability.
There are no current statistics available to show how many individuals drive while under the influence of marijuana, partially because gathering accurate responses is difficult and there is no reliable test for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active intoxicant in marijuana. A blood or urine test can show the presence of THC metabolites in a driver’s body, but it cannot show whether they were impaired while driving or if they used cannabis days before driving. According to the researchers, if fewer than 10 percent of Americans drove high on April 20, there would still be a doubled risk of fatal collisions that day.
Driving High is Driver Negligence
Marijuana negatively impacts an individual’s ability to drive safely. Its effects include:
- Slowed reaction time
- Impaired judgment
- Impaired coordination
A driver impaired by any type of drug, whether it is marijuana, alcohol, or even a pharmaceutical drug with a valid prescription, is a danger to themselves and others on the road. An individual who drives impaired is subject to a charge for driving under the influence (DUI). When one of the drivers involved in a collision is deemed to be under the influence of one or more drugs, they are nearly always found to be the negligent party and held liable for the victim’s related damages.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Car Accident Victims Seeking Compensation for Their Damages
If you were injured in a collision with a driver who was high, drunk, or otherwise impaired by drugs, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages with an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Fill out our online form or call us at 215-569-8488 today to set up your initial consultation to discuss your case in greater detail. Our office is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we work with clients throughout the state, Delaware, and New Jersey.