Marijuana Use and Car Accidents

by Andrew Mounier on May 27, 2013

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teen driver infographic

Operating a vehicle under the influence of any drug can be extremely dangerous not only for the driver, but for everyone else on the road with that driver. Although a recent study highlighted that some teenagers don’t feel that marijuana impairs their ability to drive, accidents from marijuana users can be fatal. Most teenagers smoking marijuana before getting behind the wheel told Liberty Mutual that the drug use actually made their driving better or didn’t affect it negatively. In fact, 34% of respondents felt that marijuana improved their driving skills and 41% felt that the drug did not have any impact.

Marijuana’s Risk Factor

This is disconcerting, since past research has already linked marijuana use to an increased risk for accidents. Experts at Canada’s Dalhousie University conducted research in 9 studies for accidents on public roads. What they found was that any driver using marijuana within 3 hours of their initial drive time were twice as likely to be the cause of a car crash. High levels of fatal crashes were also linked to those drivers who had used marijuana before getting behind the wheel.

The Challenge of Curbing Marijuana Use

Although marijuana is illegal in most areas, it’s still one of the most abused drugs around the world. As more people experiment with the drug, higher rates of drivers using it are making their way onto the road. This is a challenge for government officials concerned about the impacts of marijuana-affected drivers, because it’s thought that a public service announcement or media campaign would reduce the numbers. Since so many people feel that driving under the influence of marijuana is relatively safe, an effort to reduce the numbers of car accidents would have to incorporate education about the real impairments associated with driving under the influence of marijuana.

Marijuana’s Driving Impact

Marijuana can have different effects on every person, but it can slow reflexes and make it more difficult to make a quick decision. Marijuana affects the central nervous system, and it can be taken by mouth, although being smoked is the most popular way to absorb it. Some of the side effects from smoking marijuana include extreme sleepiness and other effects throughout the central nervous system. Sleepiness in itself has long been known to be a danger on the road, and combining drowsiness with the other impacts from marijuana can make for a lethal combination.

Other side effects from using marijuana can be disorientation, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, dry eyes, heart and blood pressure impacts, hallucinations and flashbacks, or numbness. These can greatly impact a driver’s response time. If the driver doesn’t realize the full impact of the drug before getting into the vehicle, this can alter their behavior and result in dangerous consequences for passengers and other drivers.

Distractions and impaired driving are leading causes of accidents across the country, and they are generally preventable. Injuries and expenses from car accidents can devastate a family in a matter of moments. If you’ve been the victim of an automobile accident where distracted or drug-impaired driving was a factor, you need assistance from a St. Joseph car accident lawyer.

Andrew Mounier
Andrew Mounier is a Content Engineer and Author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. He is also an avid legal blogger and currently working on a book with his wife about social entrepreneurship. He is a true Socialpreneur and finds that his goal in life is to be an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.
Andrew Mounier
Andrew Mounier

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  • dmartin706

    thanks for sharing this information with us.

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