The Danger Of Impaired Driving On Colorado’s Roadways
As individuals over the age of 21 are now allowed to purchase small quantities of marijuana in Colorado, the issue of impaired driving has become prominent. Many people do not understand that operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana can have serious consequences. In fact, some motorists have reported that they believe marijuana actually enhances their driving skills.
Statistics show, however, that operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana can lead to serious motor vehicle accidents. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 87 people lost their lives in auto accidents involving a drugged driver in Colorado in 2012.
In total, there were 472 traffic fatalities in Colorado in 2012. Following deadly car collisions, 286 motorists were tested to determine if drugs were in their system. Of those, 27 percent tested positive for some type of drug – 12 percent tested positive for marijuana.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has estimated that 16 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state are caused by motorists impaired by drugs.
Colorado Department of Transportation focuses on limiting impaired driving
Consequently, CDOT initiated a statewide campaign to educate motorists about the dangers of driving while impaired by drugs. The “Drive High, Get a DUI,” campaign is primarily aimed at men between 21 and 34 years of age, as that demographic most frequently faces arrest for driving under the influence.
The campaign comes after a survey of Colorado motorists revealed many do not understand the implications of driving while impaired. In late 2013, 770 individuals were interviewed by CDOT. Of those surveyed, 21 percent who had used marijuana during the prior 12 months admitted that they had driven after using marijuana during the past 30 days.
Impaired driving becoming more common across the country
The CDOT campaign is particularly important in light of a recent study conducted by the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. The researchers found that the number of fatalities caused by drugged drivers have increased significantly in recent decades.
According to the study, 16 percent of motorists responsible for deadly accidents were under the influence of drugs in 1999. In 2010, 28 percent of drivers who caused fatal collisions were impaired by drugs.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by an impaired driver, you ought to act quickly to protect your interests. In such situations, it is wise to seek the counsel of a skilled personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are safeguarded.