Marijuana Use and Car Accidents

With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon in New York, it’s important to consider the impacts legalization could have on car accidents. Just because it is legal to use marijuana, it does not mean that it is legal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Marijuana should be treated the same as alcohol, and if a driver is impaired, they should be held accountable.


Is Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Safe? 

When you are driving, it’s important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Driving while impaired by any substance, including marijuana, can be dangerous. Marijuana can slow your reaction time and ability to make quick decisions. It can also impair coordination and distort perception. In some cases, marijuana use can cause memory loss and difficulty in problem-solving. The risk is even greater if the use of marijuana is combined with alcohol use. It is clear that all of these deficits can lead to unsafe driving behavior and serious accidents.


What Effect Will Legalization Have on Car Accidents?

Will the legalization of marijuana lead to an increase in car accidents in New York? Studies in other states point to the fact that we may have a reason to worry. A recent study in Washington State, which legalized marijuana in 2012, compared marijuana-involved accidents before and after legalization. The study found that the proportion of fatal crashes involving drivers under the influence of marijuana doubled after legalization. It concluded that 21% of fatal crashes in Washington involved drivers who were THC-positive. THC is the main psychoactive component of marijuana, and the detection of THC suggests recent use.

An earlier study in Colorado, which also legalized the use of marijuana in 2012, found an increase in overall car accidents after legalization. According to the study, the overall rate of car accidents increased by 10% after the legalization of marijuana use. While it remains to be seen what impact the possible legalization of marijuana in New York will have on the car accident rate, it is clear that we may face some challenges if people insist on driving under the influence.


Contact a Car Accident Attorney

If you are seriously injured in a car accident, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case for free. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping the victims of car accidents. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.