During the analysis of 2017 motor vehicle accident data, it was determined that crashes are on the rise in three western states neighboring Arizona that have legalized recreational marijuana. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that accidents were up 6 percent in some cases, and they adjusted the findings for other possible negative influences such as crash locations and inclement weather. Police records from accidents reported in those states confer a 5.2 percent upsurge in crashes on their states' roadways, but the good news is that fatalities are not higher in those states.
An additional study with recreational weed users operating driving simulators showed that some motorists think more slowly and swerve more when they are under the influence. Researchers agree that more studies are needed to understand the full effects of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, on the mind and body. Like alcohol, driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal in all 50 states.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, law enforcement agencies across the U.S. need improved training and tools to aid them in identifying whether drivers are under the influence of marijuana or other drugs. Tests used with drivers to detect if they are under the influence of alcohol are not very helpful in detecting cannabis and other drug use. Now that motor vehicle accidents involving marijuana use are on the rise, improved detection methods will likely be developed.
Since a recent poll shows that 6 in 10 Americans support recreational weed legalization, more states will likely follow suit. Other drivers involved in a car accident with impaired drivers can sustain catastrophic injuries or even death. Personal injury attorneys who understand the laws may be able to counsel families whose lives were changed because of a car accident with an impaired driver.