Will the Number of Massachusetts Car Crash Deaths Go Up if Selling Marijuana Become Legal?

With Massachusetts and other states seeking to join Washington and Colorado in legalizing the retail sales of marijuana for recreational purposes, safety advocates are worried that this could increase the number of traffic crash fatalities that happen. While it remains illegal everywhere in the country to drive while under the influence of pot, that doesn’t mean that people don’t do it-especially if it becomes more easily accessible.

According to studies, marijuana can interfere with multitasking, impair decision-making, and reduce peripheral vision, which are skills necessary for safe driving. However, unlike drunk drivers, motorists that are stoned tend to realize that they are impaired and may try to be more careful when behind the steering wheel. Still, like alcohol, marijuana seems to make a user more careless. Also, the more inexperienced a pot smoker is, the more likely he/she is to become impaired because no tolerance level has been built up.

Young adult males and teen boys are the groups most likely to smoke pot and then drive. They are also the ones most at risk of becoming involved in a traffic crash when under its influence.

In 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a roadside survey in which 8.6% of motorists tested positive for THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. According to Columbia University researchers that compared drivers who tested positive for pot in NHTSA’s roadside survey with the drug and alcohol tests of motorists killed in traffic crashes, pot alone was enough to up the chances of involvement in a deadly car accident by 80%.

Regardless of whether more states legalize the sale of marijuana, if you or your loved one was injured in a Boston car crash and you believe that one of the drivers involved was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may have reason to pursue a Massachusetts personal injury or wrongful death case.

Most traffic crashes caused by impaired driving could have been avoided if only the motorist had chosen to not get into the car while under the influence. Intoxicated driving is negligent driving.

You want to work with a Boston injury law firm that knows how to pursue your financial recovery. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today.

Marijuana’s hazy contribution to highway deaths, September 2, 2014
The Dangers of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana, Drugless.org

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