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Drunk driving and high driving are similar in Colorado

When people think of driving under the influence, they often first think of alcohol use. However, as the laws have changed in Colorado so that marijuana is legal, this is something that has also come to indicate getting behind the wheel after getting high.

Interestingly, some reports have indicated that people are actually under the impression that they can drive well -- or, in many cases, better -- after smoking. The statistics, though, suggest that this is not the case.

For one thing, the percentage of drivers who are involved in deadly crashes while they are high is trending upward. When looking at 2006, it can be seen that 721 drivers were a part of deadly crashes, and 3.74 percent of them -- 27 people -- had been smoking. Fast forward to 2012, and there were fewer deaths, with just 630, but a full 35 people had been smoking. That brings it up to 5.56 percent.

Columbia University decided to look at the raw data for states that had taken steps to make marijuana legal in one capacity or another. Though perhaps not in the same way that it is legal in Colorado, this could include states where it was legal for medical use. What the researchers found, when looking at data between 1999 and 2010, was that states that made it legal saw a definite increase in the amount of deadly crashes involving drivers who tested positive for cannabis. In many cases, the percentages were three times as high.

Those who have been given a DWI, whether they were involved in an accident or not, needs to make sure that they understand their legal rights.

Source: Marijuana, "Let's Face It, High Driving Is Just as Dumb as Drunk Driving" Michael Lewis, Oct. 30, 2014

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