Link Found between Recreational Marijuana and More Car Accidents

A new study shows a correlation between the legalization of marijuana and the number of car accidents. With more people being permitted to use the substance in a legal fashion, the number of accidents has increased.

About the Study and Study Findings

The study was conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute, which is a division of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The purpose of the study was to determine whether there was a correlation between legal and recreational marijuana and the rate of car accidents.

The study focused on Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, all states that had legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It focused on statistics up until November 2016. The study compared these states to surrounding states including Nevada. The study concluded that the states with legal marijuana had a combined car crash rate that was higher than neighboring states. In particular, Colorado had a 13.9 percent higher car crash accident when compared to Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming. Washington had a 6.2 percent higher rate than neighboring Idaho and Montana. Oregon’s car accident rate was 4.5 percent higher than nearby Idaho, Montana, and Nevada.

Effect of Marijuana on Driving

A car accident lawyer can explain that marijuana can impact a person’s driving ability. Individuals who smoke marijuana increases the amount of weaving that a driver does. Additionally, marijuana use impairs judgment and motor coordination. Also, it impairs a person’s reaction time. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and a person’s impaired driving ability.

A federal study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse also found that alcohol and marijuana combined have a greater impact when used together. Drivers who used both substances weaved within the lane. Additionally, smoking marijuana while drinking alcohol increased the absorption rate of THC. Furthermore, marijuana use delayed the peak of alcohol impairment so that users took longer to feel like they were drunk.

Investigating Impaired Driving Accidents

If marijuana use, alcohol use or a combination of using both substances is suspected, a victim can provide these suspicions to the car accident attorney who is representing them. He or she can talk to witnesses who observed the driver before the accident, review the circumstances surrounding the accident and analyze evidence at the scene of the accident to build a case and legal theory.


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