Has legalized marijuana led to more deadly accidents?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2018 | motor vehicle accidents

Colorado legalized marijuana, allowing for a regulated industry in which people can buy small amounts for recreational purposes. By no means does this indicate that marijuana can be used without restraint, however. Some aspects of the law mimic laws surrounding the use of alcohol. For instance, impaired driving is still illegal.

However, some reports show that marijuana-related crashes are on the rise. For instance, the amount of people who got into deadly accidents with marijuana in their system more than doubled between 2013 and 2017. Every year, the amount goes up.

Clearly, people still used marijuana before it was legalized and they still got into deadly accidents. However, does this data suggest that legalization itself, making it easier to get marijuana and increasing the number of people using it, has also led to more deadly wrecks? Some would argue that that is exactly what it shows.

That said, critics argue that these results cannot be completely compared to DUI results. When a person tests positive for alcohol over the legal limit, the alcohol is impacting that person at the moment. Marijuana stays in a person’s system for far longer. That person could have smoked weeks ago and he or she would still test positive, despite not being high during the wreck.

Therefore, the marijuana may not have had any impact on the person’s driving ability. It just shows up more often because it is being used more often, even when it is used safely.

These statistics bring up a lot of interesting questions about marijuana legalization and driving fatalities, and it is important for those injured in accidents to know all of the legal options they have.