Marijuana legalization leads to more fatal crashes in Washington

by | May 20, 2016 | Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents

Since legislation for the use of recreational marijuana was passed in 2014 in the state of Washington, drivers high on the drug have been connected to more than twice as many fatal car accidents since 2013, according to reports. In 2013, marijuana was involved in about 8 percent of fatal crashes, but in 2014, it rose to 17 percent.

The report, which is based on research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, noted that while marijuana has led to the considerable increase in crash-related fatalities, there is no method to establish the amount of marijuana that causes driving impairment. While blood alcohol tests determine how drunk a driver is based on the amount of alcohol in the person’s blood, no test can accurately show if a person has too much marijuana in his or her system because the chemical component in the drug, known as THC, affects people in different ways. The AAA warns that motorists should avoid taking any amount of marijuana before driving.

Although testing for THC is possible, there are several problems with it. In the first place, it is dependent on a blood test that takes about two hours to administer. In addition, the THC levels tend to significantly decline during the two-hour period, which can cause flawed results.

People who operate a vehicle while they are high on marijuana and cause a fatal motor vehicle accident can be held liable for their actions based on the factor of negligence. Those who lost a loved one in this kind of accident may wish to consult a personal injury attorney to help them file a claim for compensation for their losses, including funeral expenses and loss of consortium.


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