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Does Marijuana Lead to More Crashes?

By Peters & Nolan, LLC on September 30, 2019

Colorado was the first of ten states and Washington, D.C., to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but it has never been allowed on the road. Under CRS 42-4-1301 of the Colorado Code, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. It does not matter if the drug is illegal, prescription, over-the-counter, or legal for recreational use, as in the case of marijuana.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana, call our Grand Junction personal injury attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC, at (970) 243-4357 as soon as possible. Attorneys Andrew Peters and Andrew Nolan also handle DUI defense and have an in-depth understanding of how to pursue this type of claim.

Research Links Legalization of Marijuana to Increase in Car Accidents

U.S. News reports that, in a study published in BMJ Open, researchers found that Colorado traffic crashes increased by 10% after marijuana was legalized, and injuries and deaths caused by alcohol abuse and overdoses increased by 5%. However, hospital admissions for chronic pain decreased by 5%, supporting existing evidence that marijuana can alleviate this condition.

How Does Marijuana Use Affect Driving Ability?

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana significantly impairs motor coordination, reaction time, and judgment. A direct relationship has been identified between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability. The institute reports that marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently found in the blood of drivers who were involved in traffic accidents, including fatal crashes. In two extensive European studies, researchers found that drivers with THC in the bloodstream were twice as likely to be culpable in fatal accidents than drivers who had not used alcohol or drugs.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove when marijuana use has contributed to a crash. Pot is frequently combined with alcohol, and it can be detected in body fluids for days or weeks after a person is under the influence. This factor can make it difficult to prove that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash. However, the institute reports that drivers involved in vehicle crashes with high levels of THC in their blood are three to seven times more likely to be at fault for the accident than drivers who did not used alcohol or drugs.

Why You Need a Lawyer

If you were injured in an accident caused by a driver who was impaired by cannabis, you have a right to seek damages for your injuries. Under state law, a driver with five nanograms of active THC in the blood can be charged with driving under the influence, and regardless of THC levels, police officers base arrests on observed impairment. Even if marijuana was prescribed medicinally, it is illegal to drive while impaired.

Our Grand Junction car accident lawyers at Peters & Nolan, LLC, know the procedures and systems used to test for DUI. We have more than two decades of experience and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients, especially in auto accident cases. Contact us right away for dedicated legal assistance if you have been injured by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana.

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Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.

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