The authors of a 2017 Highway Loss Data Institute study suggest that the legalization of marijuana for recreational use is likely responsible for an uptick in car accidents since the drug’s decriminalization.
The researchers reached this conclusion following their review of Colorado, Oregon and Washington crash data. It showed that these states all experienced a 3% increase in annual accidents following the legalization of marijuana sales between 2014 and 2015.
How the rise in crashes correlates with marijuana’s legalization
The study’s authors are confident that the uptick in fatal crashes is attributable to the legalization of marijuana more than other factors. They controlled for other possible reasons for the increase, including driver age, gender and employment status, weather and traffic. The researchers noted that the crash rates were higher in the states that had recently legalized marijuana compared to the way they were before despite doing that.
What do researchers think about other crash-contributing factors?
While the researchers believe that the legalization of marijuana largely contributed to the uptick in crashes, they argue that there’s also value in government agencies performing their own research. They argue that marijuana use is equally — if not more — responsible for crashes as smartphone use, drunk driving, speeding and other reckless behaviors.
What should you do if a drugged motorist struck and injured you?
Reckless driving behaviors such as texting or cell phone use, speeding and driver intoxication from either drugs or alcohol all have the same result. They tend to maim and kill. Gauging other driver’s choices is hard enough when all motorists focus on the task at hand. Anything that impairs their judgment tends to have catastrophic results.
If you were injured in a wreck involving a drugged driver here in Chula Vista, talk to an attorney about how you can best protect your interests and get the compensation you are due for your injuries and other losses.