Researchers have discovered a link between drug use and motor vehicle collisions years before marijuana was ever legalized. By collecting data at accident sites, the researchers found that roughly forty percent of all fatal accidents involved one or more drivers who failed the drug test. Additionally, surveys have shown that over forty percent of the people who have admitted to marijuana usage, have also admitted to using it at least once a day.
Injury Lawyer in Mississauga know that despite the legalization of marijuana, it is still illegal in Canada to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a motorized vehicle. However, researchers have yet to discover whether the legalization of marijuana has had any impact on the frequency of motor vehicle collisions and the resulting injuries.
How Marijuana Affects Its Users
While no two people react exactly the same to the use of marijuana, there are some common denominators between people’s experiences. The most commonly reported side effect is a feeling of euphoria and relaxation, but there are also many reports of people struggling with memory, reduced reaction times, intense fatigue, problems with concentration, and even panic and intense anxiety.Furthermore, there have been reported cases of users experiencing such a strong drop in blood pressure that they fainted.
Because of all these potential side effects, the exposure to marijuana while driving may significantly increase risk of involvement in a motor vehicle collision, which can affect not just the driver, but also passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists.Studies have been conducted which resulted in data that backs up this assumption. In these studies, it has been found that drivers who had previously used marijuana were far more easily distracted by passing cyclists and pedestrians, and struggled to keep up with other tasks necessary for operating a vehicle.Thus, lack of alertness and clarity can be a reason for an accident which can cost someone their life.
Studies Conducted In The United States Following The Legalization of Marijuana
While a study conducted by a Canadian team did not find an increase in motor vehicle collision following the legalization of cannabis, there has been conclusive research regarding blood tests conducted on the victims of collisions. Drivers who were killed in collisions in states with legalized cannabis usage, more and more often tested positive for THC, which is the chemical component in marijuana that causes impairment on the user’s mental and physical capabilities.
Similar studies were conducted on U.S. soil, though with different outcomes. According to their studies, there is a six percent increase of collisions in states with legalized cannabis usage.