Bastrop, TX- Marijuana is the most used illicit drug in the U.S., and it is a factor in more traffic crashes across Texas. On the national level, the data isn’t cut and dry, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found an increase in accident claims involving marijuana, another study conducted by the American Journal found no significant increase in pot-related fatal crashes nationwide. But in Texas, the story is different because fatal crashes involving stone drivers is on the rise.
Marijuana Impaired Crashes in the U.S. and Texas
Americans are becoming more accepting of marijuana, and the wave of legalization isn’t showing signs of stopping. As pot becomes more widely available, concern about marijuana-related traffic accidents and fatalities is growing, but whether pot makes the roads more unsafe isn’t cut-and-dry.
When the IIHS compared pot-related accident claims from three states where recreational marijuana is legal- Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—with neighboring states, they found claims for accidents involving pot increased an average of three percent.
Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health found no increase in fatal pot-related crashes in Colorado and Washington after both states legalized recreational marijuana. Researchers analyzed federal accident stats from 2009 to 2015.
“We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates in the first three years after recreational marijuana legalization,” researchers said according to the Washington Post.
While it’s unclear if marijuana is responsible for more fatalities nationally, there is a noticeable increase in deadly Texas crashes involving stoned drivers. In the state, marijuana is the number one illicit drug in traffic collisions, account for 300 accidents in 2016, compared that to just 170 drivers who tested positive for cannabis in 2012. That’s a significant increase in only a few years.
It should be noted that just because a driver tests positive for marijuana does not mean they are impaired because of the way the body metabolizes marijuana. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, and there is a scientifically established metric of impairment, blood alcohol concentration. Marijuana is absorbed by fat cells, so it can be detected in a person’s system even if they are no longer impaired.
Drugged Driving is a National Problem
Marijuana isn’t the only drug posing a risk on the road; drivers are using other legal and illegal drugs. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, following are the drugs detected and the percentage of crashes they were a factor in:
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs- 55 percent
Marijuana- 35.6 percent
Amphetamines- 9.3 percent
What Can I Do If I’m Hurt by a Drugged Driver?
If a stoned driver hits you, USAttorneys.com recommends you speak to an accident lawyer in Texas right away. You may be entitled to compensation for the following accident-related costs:
Medical treatment, surgeries, and hospitalization
Impaired driving is dangerous, and it’s wrong. Drivers need to take responsibility for their actions if they take drugs and get behind the wheel and harm another person or persons. A victim can and should hold these drivers liable for any economic, physical or psychological harm they cause someone else. Our accident attorneys in Bastrop, TX are diligent and understanding. They understand how important it is you recover the full amount of compensation you need for your accident expenses.
If you are the victim of a drugged driver, let USAttorneys.com connect you with an accident lawyer Baton Rouge, Louisiana. With an attorney’s help, you will recover the settlement you deserve. Call and set up a consultation today.