How marijuana can affect driving skills

How does marijuana use affect someone's driving skills?

Ever since marijuana began to be legalized for either medicinal or recreational use in various parts of the country, people have been concerned about what would happen on the roads as a result. Would cars full of stoned drivers turn the streets of the nation chaotic?

As it turns out, the results are somewhat mixed. The good news: Researchers who have looked into accident statistics in the states with legalized marijuana have determined that the overall number of fatalities due to car accidents have remained unchanged since the drug became legal. The bad news: The overall number of non-fatal car accidents are noticeably higher.

Together, the studies indicate that marijuana use doesn't make drivers particularly reckless but it certainly does impair their ability to concentrate, react quickly to changing environments and multitask -- three skills that are essential for safe driving.

Another issue that's problematic when it comes to marijuana use and driving is that everyone reacts differently to THC, the active ingredient in the drug. A heavy user may have high levels of THC in his or her system, if tested, despite not having imbibed in a week. A light user may have very little THC in his or her system and be far too stoned to be behind the wheel.

That's very different than alcohol, where a high concentration in the blood or urine equals a high likelihood of impairment. As of this date, there's no way to correlate a specific concentration of THC in the blood or urine to a specific level of impairment.

Where does this leave you if you're in a car accident and you suspect that the other driver may have been stoned? Talk to your attorney about the issue as quickly as possible. Even if the police don't cite the driver for driving under the influence, your attorney may be able to elicit information through the discovery process of a lawsuit that will show the other driver was likely impaired due to his or her marijuana use.

For more information about how you can recover compensation for your injuries after a car accident, talk to an attorney today.

Source: The Washington Post, "What marijuana legalization did to car accident rates," accessed July 25, 2017

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