The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic in recent years, and a large number of states throughout the country have approved the drug for medicinal or recreational use. While marijuana remains illegal in Wisconsin, it was recently legalized in the neighboring states of Illinois and Michigan. Because of this, Wisconsin’s roads may see more drivers who are under the influence of marijuana, which may increase the likelihood of dangerous car accidents.
Studies Show Link Between Legal Marijuana and Car Accidents
In response to the recent trend in marijuana legalization throughout the United States, researchers have performed studies to determine whether this has affected roadway safety. One study looked at crash data in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, where marijuana has been approved for recreational use, and it found that the number of car accidents was around 6% higher than in neighboring states. Another study looked at hospital records and found that Colorado had seen a 10% increase in injuries from car accidents following the legalization of marijuana.
The Dangers of Driving While High
While the dangers of drunk driving are well-known, fewer people are aware of the effects that marijuana can have on a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. In fact, cannabis can seriously impair a driver in a variety of ways. A person’s sensory perception is likely to be affected, making it more difficult to notice road conditions, other vehicles, or pedestrians around them. Drivers may also experience a slowing of cognitive functions, causing them to be unable to react in time to avoid a collision. Marijuana also affects coordination, and drivers are more likely to weave within or across lanes or follow other vehicles too closely. Impairment increases significantly when marijuana is combined with alcohol.
Troublingly, research has shown that those who drive while under the influence of marijuana may be participating in behaviors that create additional risks for others. While drunk drivers typically drive in the evening, and they tend to either drive alone or with other adults, those who use marijuana do so throughout the day, and they are more likely to drive with a minor in the vehicle.
Contact an Appleton Drugged Driving Injury Attorney
Operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk. If you have been injured in a collision with a driver who was using marijuana for either recreational or medical purposes, Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. can help you understand your options for pursuing compensation for your damages. To schedule a free consultation, contact our Green Bay car accident lawyers today by calling [[phone]].