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Can driving while high cause a car accident?

Patricia M. Jarzobski

Many drivers know that driving under the influence of alcohol is a bad idea and is a leading cause of fatal accidents, but what about driving under the influence of drugs? Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, that subject is up for debate. Those who smoke pot will tell you that they are better drivers than those who are drinking. They claim that they drive slower due to the paranoia from smoking so they are not as likely to be the cause of a car accident. However, some studies are showing that this may cause more danger on the road than before.

Alcohol as the cause of car accident deaths remains at a steady 40 percent, but studies are showing that drugged driving deaths are on the rise, having tripled in the last 10 years. Marijuana is currently the drug that is most attributed to this. If this increase continues, studies say that over the course of the next five to six years, drugs will surpass alcohol in car accident-related deaths.

An experiment was conducted on a closed course under supervision to see how long it took for someone to be considered unfit to drive while drugged. The drivers were already quite a few times over the legal limit when they got behind the wheel. Results showed that the drivers needed to have smoked over a gram of marijuana to be considered incapable to drive. This end result is one of the reasons why some people tend to think that those under the influence of alcohol are more likely to cause accidents than those who are stoned.

The evidence, however, is inconclusive as to whether or not smoking marijuana is less dangerous than being drunk. Either way, impairment behind the wheel of a car can lead to a car accident and subsequent injuries. A Colorado resident who have been injured due to the negligence of a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol may seek legal aid if filing for monetary compensation.

Source: ibtimes.com, Is Driving While High Dangerous? Fatal Car Accidents Involving Marijuana Triple Over 10 Years, Philip Ross, Feb. 4, 2014

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