Many of you have heard about new laws coming into effect in various states across the country concerning medical marijuana. However, not everyone is aware that voters in two states (Washington and Colorado) recently passed measures to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana for recreational use by adults over the age of 21. Driving on drugs is illegal, and these two states’ measures do not change that. Still, police and other law enforcement officials in those states are concerned that the ability to buy or possess marijuana legally will bring about an increase of marijuana users on the road. Stats gathered for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that in 2009, one-third of fatally injured drivers with known drug test results were found to be positive for drugs other than alcohol. More than 16% of nighttime drivers who were randomly stopped were tested positive for drugs. It is well known that marijuana can cause dizziness and slowed reaction time, and studies have shown that drivers are more likely to drift and swerve if they are high on pot.
Colorado’s measure does not make any changes to its driving-under-the-influence laws. As a result, lawmakers and police are worried about the measure’s effect on road safety. Washington’s law does change DUI provisions by setting a new blood-test limit for marijuana. Police are training to enforce the limit, and some lawyers are preparing to challenge the limit. Marijuana legalization activists agree that people should not smoke pot and drive, but setting a standard of intoxication similar to blood-alcohol limits has created significant outcry and disagreement.
In a future blog post, I will discuss why this particular issue has become so divisive.
Always remember to wear your seat belt and don’t drink and drive, and don’t use drugs and drive. You could injure or kill yourself or someone else. If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol ask a trusted friend or family member to give you a ride or call a cab.
Have you been injured by someone who was driving while under the influence of marijuana or other drugs? Or do you know someone who has been hurt by a drunk or high driver? If so, call me to discuss your situation or tell your friend or family member to call me. Both the call and consultation are free. I practice soley in the are of personal injury, so you can be assured that I have the knowledge and experience to help you.