Colorado set the trend for marijuana legalization. Amid all the viable reasons for doing so, there was an overwhelming concern that the decision would lead to drivers operating their vehicles under the influence of marijuana. Since the drug can have side effects that make it dangerous to be behind the wheel, a rise in auto accidents was a major worry. DUI accidents can cause serious injuries and fatalities and it is important for those who have been involved in a crash to understand what steps to take if marijuana was a factor.
A recent study indicates that there has been a 15% rise in auto accidents with marijuana as a factor since the drug was legalized for recreational use. During that time period, there has been a 31% increase in traffic fatalities. Law enforcement is concerned that it will take a similar amount of time for drivers to understand the dangers of driving after smoking marijuana as it did for drivers to understand the dangers of drinking alcohol and driving.
According to the research, in 2013, 11% of drivers involved in fatal auto accidents were found to have marijuana in their system. Through 2016, the number increased to approximately 20% of drivers. The Colorado State Police said they can tell with relative ease whether a person is under the influence of marijuana. It can, however, be difficult to tell if the driver has been using more than one intoxicating substance. Mixing marijuana with alcohol or mixing it with other drugs can be complicated to discern. The study showed that, in 2018, three-quarters of the drivers who were found to have used marijuana had also used alcohol or other drugs.
This research shows that marijuana is a major factor in many auto accidents and it can be a critical part of a successful legal filing. A law firm experienced in representing people who have been impacted by a car crash can help with a claim.