Is Marijuana a Threat to Road Safety?

drug use linked to auto accidentsCould the legalization of marijuana be responsible for more car accidents on roads and freeways?

While recreational use of pot is still illegal throughout Connecticut, a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety evaluated crash rates in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon – all states where it’s legal to purchase and use marijuana for enjoyment. Factors considered in the study included age, gender, number of drivers on the road, weather, and employment.

Collision Risks Linked To Pot Legalization

The study found that collision claims in these states went up 2.7 percent in the years since legal recreational marijuana sales began. Senior Vice President of the Highway Loss Data Institute commented on the data, saying “We believe that…those crash risks are associated with the legalization of marijuana.”

The American Automobile Association (AAA) also conducted their own study a year ago on the relationship between marijuana and car accidents and found legal marijuana use to be a negative factor in connection with crashes in Washington: Fatal crashes involving drivers who had recently used pot doubled throughout the state.

Interestingly enough, the study also revealed that the legal limits of marijuana and driving are arbitrary and not at all supported by science.

The #1 Threat on Roads

Not unlike drinking while driving, driving under the influence of marijuana is just as dangerous. It’s also illegal, no matter which state you live in. Yet, a 2015 poll by Gallup reveals that half of Americans don’t think pot legalization will make much of a difference on the roads.

Today, a number of dangers plague our roads. With many people driving with a cell phone in one hand and the steering wheel in the other, our inattention is costing us more lives than ever. Now, with pot legalization spreading from state to state, drivers should be aware of one more hazard on the road.

What is the highest threat on our roads? Could it be marijuana?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, alcohol is still the biggest threat on roads, with approximately 7,000 crashes caused by drivers driving over the legal blood alcohol concentration limit. Further, in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control reported that 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving accidents.

Will marijuana eventually top the list?

How to Spot an Impaired Driver

How do police spot an intoxicated driver? In an interview by the Ohio State Bar Association, police shared “signs of impairment” they look for when spotting a driver under the influence:

  • Reckless driving
  • Weaving
  • Going left of center
  • Driving too slowly
  • Braking erratically
  • Stopping for no apparent reason

If you notice any of the above behavior from a driver – especially during the late hours of the night or early hours of the morning – report the driver to local authorities as soon as possible. Whether high or drunk, impaired driving is illegal.

Zero Tolerance

The attorneys at The Flood Law Firm have a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence – be it of alcohol or marijuana. If you or someone you know has been impacted by a driver under the influence, we want to hear from you. While we can’t undo the past, we can do our best to ensure the responsible party is held accountable.

Contact our team today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation by calling (860) 346-2695.

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