Driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, is illegal in all states.
While a number of citizens have welcomed the change, a number of concerns have been presented. Possibly the most concerning is the use of marijuana while driving.
Increase in Drugged Driving
A recent report by The Chicago Tribune stated that there has been a marked increase in automobile accidents caused by drugged drivers. The Governor’s Highway Safety Council conducted a study that the number of fatalities caused in car accidents with the driver testing positive for drugs has increased from 29% in 2005 to 39.9% in 2013. This increase of 11 percent is almost equal to the fatalities caused by motorists driving under the influence of alcohol.
The Growing Concern about Drugged Driving
While many states have turned towards legalization of marijuana, Illinois has only allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes for certain patients. Other states in the country are also contemplating ballot measures to allow the use of marijuana in some form or the other.
A concern is the attitude of drivers who use recreational marijuana while driving. In a study conducted by the Governors Highway Security Council, citizens in Colorado and Washington (states with recent decriminalization) were interviewed, only to find that these drivers actually believed that marijuana has no effect whatsoever on their driving abilities and that it only improves their driving skills. The argument they pose is that the effects of marijuana are different from alcohol as, unlike alcohol, marijuana does not impair their ability to judge distance and speed.
Driving under the Influence (DUI) Is an Unsafe Practice
Various studies on the effects of decriminalization of marijuana on driving have found that drugged driving is not safe. A study that was conducted in Colorado revealed that there is a 4 percent increase in the number of fatalities in car accidents with a drugged driver testing positive for marijuana.
Though the number of states opting for legalization of marijuana is increasing, it is imperative to note that Federal Law still prohibits the use of marijuana. Until now federal prosecutors have avoided pursing criminal charges against motorists who have taken advantage of the decriminalization of marijuana in certain states.
When Should You Seek Legal Advice?
Driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, is illegal in all states. Any driver found driving under the influence of marijuana is breaking the law. A victim of drugged driving should immediately seek legal assistance. If you have been in a car accident with a suspected drugged driver, contact a Chicago auto accident attorney from Willens Law Offices. For a free consultation, call us at (312) 957-4166.