Most people relate driving under the influence to alcohol consumption. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), marijuana users are roughly 25 percent more likely to be involved in an automobile collision in comparison to drivers with no traces of marijuana in their system. Therefore, as recreational marijuana becomes more prevalent throughout the country, roadways are becoming increasingly more dangerous.
If you or a member of your family are injured in automobile collision due to another’s negligent driving or drug use, please contact an experienced and compassionate Virginia personal injury attorney to discuss your case and your legal options.
Nighttime Drivers and Marijuana Use
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that, in 2015, almost 13 percent of nighttime drivers operated their vehicles with marijuana in their system. Since that study, many states have legalized recreational marijuana, and the use of both legal and illegal marijuana has continued to increase across the country.
Dangerous Driving Day
Over the years, safety advocates have recognized certain days of the year more dangerous than others. These include New Year’s Eve, July 4th, and the night before Thanksgiving. On these days, there is an alarming spike in the number of drunk driving fataliaties as many drivers make the tragic decision to get behind the wheel of their vehicle when they are under the influence.
As use of recreational marijuana increases around the country, another day has been added to that list. There is an equally alarming spike in vehicle deaths on April 20, a day unofficially touted as a marijuana holiday.
Twenty-five years of research conducted by the U.S. government’s top traffic safety institutions noticed a 12 percent increase in fatal crashes on April 20. In other words, an additional 142 drivers lose their lives on April 20, in comparison to the other days of the year.
How Does Marijuana Use Affect Driving?
According to the CDC, marijuana use negatively impacts regular driving habits and skills needed for safe driving. These include the following:
- Reactions times and the ability to make decisions are slowed;
- Coordination is impaired; and
- Perception is distorted.
In addition, the CDC notes that the risks associated with impaired driving that involves the use of both marijuana and alcohol “appears to be greater than that for either by itself.”
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney
It is a crime under Virginia law to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition to criminal charges, an impaired driver who causes an accident may also be responsible for punitive damages for any victims who were injured in the crash or to the families of anyone killed in the crash. Punitive damages are punishment for the driver for their reckless behavior. Injured victims or anyone who has lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a drugged driver should contact a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney to find out what legal options they may have.