Perhaps input from a DUI defense lawyer as well as police officials might help decide whether this statement is legitimate or far-fetched.
Car accident claims in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado have increased by 3% and the Highway Loss Data Institute is claiming it is because these states have “approved the sale of marijuana for recreational use” says CNBC. As many other lawmakers and organizations are pushing for the legalization of marijuana in other states, studies are being conducted to help identify whether doing so is going to better or worsen the conditions of our roadways.
As of right now, intoxicated drivers contribute to the number of serious and fatal auto accidents that transpire so it is understandable why these institutes are being cautious and concerned with the idea of marijuana being legalized.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD, “every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash” and “on average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.”
While there is evidence to support these statistics, there isn’t exactly any that supports the claims that are being made by the Highway Loss Data Institute.
Here are some of the uncertainties with the study’s findings:
The study conducted by Matt Moore, who is the institute’s senior vice president, does not indicate if the increase in the number of collisions in each of the three states was attributed to drivers who were high on marijuana. He is merely using the fact that since the date of the legalization of marijuana, the number of car accident claims filed has increased. But, drunk rivers, distracted drivers, and careless motorists also contribute to these numbers as well. So, it isn’t really clear what the true cause of the increase is.
While it would help to hear some input from local police officials who are conducting these arrests and arriving on scene for the accidents, there is no field sobriety test that checks drivers specifically for marijuana. Yes, police can test for THC, however, Moore himself acknowledged that “it’s hard to determine exactly how many accidents are caused by stoned drivers” because many who have tested positive for THC have also had alcohol in their system. Basically, there is no way to determine which was the contributing factor to the cause of the accident.
Why might marijuana be contributing to the increase in traffic accidents?
Although there is no solid evidence, the fact that there was an increase coincidentally with the states that did legalize marijuana provides some sort of “support” for Moore’s idea. Based on the numbers analyzed, the institute found that accident claims have increased by 16% in Colorado, 6.2% in Washington and 4.5% in Oregon after the legalization of marijuana came into effect in each state.
Because there are many individuals who support marijuana legalization and others who don’t, it can be expected that studies will be conducted to prove why it and shouldn’t be allowed. It can also be expected that police officials who suspect that a driver is operating their vehicle while under the influence of any substance, including marijuana, will make an arrest when they feel it is necessary.
If you have been arrested for DUI in any state in the U.S., USAttorneys.com will help you find a local DUI defense lawyer in your city who can help you fight your charges.