Marijuana is legal in California for recreational use, but how will that impact the number of traffic accidents in the state. According to one study, legalization of marijuana will increase traffic accidents. However, another study does not indicate that recreational marijuana will impact traffic crashes.
Marijuana Use Increases Traffic Crashes
The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) examined collision reports between January 2012 and October 2016 from states where marijuana was legal for recreational purposes, both before and after the states passed laws legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. The states used in the study were Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. When compared to other states used for control purposes, researchers concluded that accident rates in states that had legalized marijuana for recreational purposes were higher than anticipated.
Another Study Appears to Disagree
Another study reviewed crash fatality rates in Washington and Colorado after recreational marijuana was legalized. The study reviewed the annual number of vehicle-related crash fatalities in these two states from 2009 through 2015, in addition to eight control states. After reviewing the data, researchers concluded that three years after marijuana was legalized in Washington and Colorado, crash fatalities were not statistically different from the rates in the control states.
It would appear that the two studies contradict each other; however, it must be noted that the first study reviewed insurance claims while the other studied crash fatalities. In either case, drugged driving remains a problem throughout the United States, regardless of the drug causing the impairment.
Marijuana Impaired Driving Remains Illegal in California
Even though the state has legalized marijuana for recreational use, impaired driving remains illegal. It is illegal to use marijuana and drive a vehicle while impaired by the marijuana just as it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If you are stopped for impaired driving, you can be arrested and face severe penalties for drugged driving. In addition, if you cause a car accident while driving under the influence of marijuana, you can be held liable for any damages caused by the collision.
Suing for Damages in a Marijuana-Impaired Driving Accident
Just as with a drunk driving accident, you must prove fault to recover compensation because of a marijuana-impaired driving accident. A driver could be under the influence of marijuana, but the driver may not have caused the crash. If you were at fault for the collision, the other driver could file a claim against you for damages.
Therefore, it is important to seek the advice of a marijuana-impaired accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash. Even though the other driver might be charged with drugged driving, it is imperative that you obtain evidence to prove the other driver is at fault to protect your right to receive full compensation for all damages caused by the collision.
Contact a Fresno Drugged Driving Accident Attorney
If you are injured in a marijuana-impaired driving accident, do not allow the insurance company for the other driver to convince you not to contact an attorney. You deserve to be compensated for the injuries and damages caused by a drugged driver.
Contact Torem & Associates to request your free consultation with a Fresno marijuana-impaired accident attorney. Call (559) 500-5000 or 1-800-954-4444 or use the contact form on our website.