Cannabis Smokers More Likely to Cause Deadly Vehicular Accidents than Non-Smokers
Pot is slowly but surely seeing mass legalization all over the U.S. This might bode well for cannabis lovers, but it might does not bode well for drivers of motor vehicles. Just like people are going to drink and drive, they are going to smoke pot and drive. There's no getting around it. In some cases, people will drink and smoke pot and drive, creating a very dangerous vehicular situation. Car crashes will result.Many of these crashes will be deadly.
According to some experts however, while years upon years of research have shown that the connection between drinking behind the wheel and deadly vehicular crashes is all too real, research on pot smoking and driving is still not entirely clear. One example cited is a high school senior from Ohio who, after smoking cannabis, veered off the road, crashing head on into a utility pole and tragically killing his prom date.
Maybe the research on driving after smoking legalized marijuana is still mixed, but one thing remains perfectly clear. If you and/or a member of your family becomes the victim of a motor vehicle accident due to substance abuse, you need to hire the right personal injury lawyer.
Says Cohen and Winters, personal injury attorneys based in New Hampshire, if another driver caused serious injuries or even death through carelessness which includes substance abuse, you will no doubt be very angry. While money won't assuage this anger, it will make things far easier and more manageable going forward. Even more importantly, you'll want legal justice.
Simply said, it's not fair for the irresponsible person who injured you to walk away "scot free." A reputable personal injury attorney will focus on holding the person who caused the injuries and/or death to a loved one fully accountable and in turn, acquire the compensation you deserve, allowing you to focus entirely on your recovery.
That said, opponents of legalized cannabis are very concerned that deadly car crashes will be on the increase as more and moreU.S. states ease their existing marijuana laws. A senior researcher at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation was recently quoted as saying, "Alcohol is still the main contributor to [vehicle crash] risk. It doesn't mean that marijuana or cannabis don't contribute. To me, it's very clear that if you are stoned, you are at risk. You shouldn't drive at all."
More Drivers are Using Legal Cannabis
At present, close to 10 U.S. states plus Washington D.C., have officially legalized recreational marijuana while 29 states have approved the use of medicinal cannabis. A recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that the percentage of U.S. drivers who have tested positive for THC (the psychoactive chemical in pot that causes the "high") in their bloodstream is on the rise, especially at night.
But the same study shows that during the daylight hours, only a slight increase in the percentage of drivers testing positive for THC was recorded. However, the most common substances present in driver's bloodstreams were both alcohol and THC.
While cannabis research remains mixed if not unclear at present, there is no doubt the substance has an adverse effect on your driving ability and the risk of your being involved in a vehicular crash. Researchers from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation further state that that studies conducted thus far have shown an increased risk of car crashes.
Taken a step further, the researchers state that lab studies consistently prove that driving while under the influence of cannabis and its THC content "does appear to impair performance on driving-related skills."
Cannabis Smoking Driver's Reaction Time
Driving simulator tests prove that smoking pot prior to getting behind the wheel caused a noticeable increase in the time to it took driver's to react to specific situations. Marijuana using drivers weaved in and out of lanes and also upped their vehicle following distance.
However, these studies tend to vary since they are reliant on the amount of pot smoked, how much THC concentration is present in the cannabis, and whether or not the driver being tested regularly used the substance or not.
What does all this mean? Researchers say that a slow reaction time and weaving in and out of lanes, while certainly dangerous, does not always translate into dangerous and/or deadly automobile crashes. But it does portend to the fact that bad crashes can and will happen if a driver is under the influence of cannabis.
Bottom line? Do not drink and drive. Do not smoke cannabis and drive. Full stop.