Is It Safe to Drive While Stoned?

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We all know drinking and driving is a potentially fatal mix, but what about driving while under the influence of marijuana? Common sense would suggest marijuana would have similar effects on one’s driving ability as alcohol, but recent research results have put this into question.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released the results of two studies on the alcohol and drug use by drivers. The first study, the Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers, found that, while drinking and driving is on a downward trend, drugged driving has been increasing, with 20 percent of drivers testing positive for at least one drug in 2014, 15 percent testing positive for at least one illegal drug. Approximately 12.6 percent of drivers had marijuana in their systems.

The second study, the Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk Study found, as might be expected, that drivers who had used marijuana were 25 percent more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. However, other factors, such as age and gender, appeared to account for this increase in risk. According to the NHTSA, “the increased risk may be due in part because marijuana users are more likely to be in groups at higher risk of crashes. In particular, marijuana users are more likely to be young men – a group already at high risk.”

These results do not mean it’s safe to drive while under the influence of marijuana. The NHTSA points out that other studies which used driving simulators and test tracks found that marijuana use can, at certain dosage levels, have an impact on the risk of accidents. Further research is necessary to determine how marijuana usage affects driving behavior.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Los Angeles motor vehicle accident involving a drugged driver, Bradley I. Kramer and his experienced legal team are here to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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