There has always been a debate on whether marijuana use affects a person's ability to drive. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently reported that the four states that legalized the use of recreational marijuana have experienced up to a 6 percent increase in motor vehicle crashes in recent years.
The IIHS studied insurance claims and motor vehicle accident reports in Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. It then compared the findings with neighboring states that have not legalized recreational marijuana. These states included Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
According to the IIHS, the results conclusively showed an increase in motor vehicle accidents since the states adapted the legislation.
Colorado drugged driving statistics
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, over 30 percent of motor vehicle deaths in 2016 involved a driver under the influence of marijuana. These deaths accounted for almost 200 people. Additionally, almost 20 percent of people arrested for DUIs that year tested positive for marijuana use.
How to keep yourself safe
Drivers in Colorado and the three other states that have legalized the use of recreational marijuana can face a higher risk of being involved in a car accident. Consider the following tips to keep yourself safe on the roads:
- Call the police immediately if you suspect a drugged driver on the roads.
- Never get in the car with someone under the influence of marijuana.
- Plan a sober ride if you are planning on using marijuana.
Unfortunately, testing a driver for marijuana use is not as easy or accurate as measuring a driver's blood alcohol content (BAC). Colorado and other states are in the process of establishing better methods to detect marijuana use among drivers. However, few scientific methods currently exist.
Drugged driving charges can sometimes be difficult to prove. If you are facing a DWI-related charge, consider speaking to a criminal defense attorney immediately.