When marijuana sales began in Colorado in 2014, marijuana-impaired driving was not tracked by the courts or law enforcement. Unfortunately, comparing cannabis DUIs before and after marijuana became legal is not possible.
In 2014 and 2015, under 15 percent of all DUIs by state troopers involved the suspected use of marijuana — with or without other substances. Only 8 percent involved marijuana alone. Even though marijuana is legal in the state now for adults, there are many more arrests for DUIs involving alcohol and drugs other than marijuana. From 2014 to 2015, the number of DUIs involving marijuana decreased slightly — 1.3 percent. However, more data will be needed to see if that will be a trend in the future.
The Colorado Department of Transportation reported that in 2014, 12.3 percent of drivers who were involved in fatal car crashes tested positive for marijuana. In the same year, 32.7 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that there was not an increased crash risk when marijuana was used. The NHTSA’s results were for a large-scale case control study of alcohol and drug crash risk in the U.S. Demographic considerations and alcohol use were controlled factors in the study. This study contradicts a British study from 2012 that cites 92 percent as the crash risk when cannabis is used.
While it is illegal to be under the influence of marijuana, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and, of course, alcohol, it appears that marijuana may not be pushing the crash-related numbers up as much as some expected.
If you are accused of driving under the influence of cannabis, then you should begin building your defense as soon as possible. At The Foley Law Firm, we can help you determine which type of defense will work best with your case. To learn more, take a look at our web pages devoted to the topic of DUI.