As recreational and medical marijuana use has been legalized in several states, Illinois motorists should be aware that using marijuana can have an impact on their ability to drive safely. In fact, a study showed that increased use of marijuana on April 20, the drug’s self-proclaimed holiday, has been linked to a slight increase in the number of fatal car accidents.
For the study, researchers used data from fatal car accidents during the period of 1992 through 2016. The year 1992 was chosen as this was shortly after 4/20 became a popular marijuana holiday. They found that there was an increased risk in most states across the nation, with an additional 142 driver fatalities linked to the 4/20 holiday.
It is important to note, however, that drug testing data was not available for many of the accidents, so researchers were not able directly link marijuana use to the increase in traffic accidents. In addition, many people drink alcohol while they are smoking pot, so this could have been a factor as well. Even so, it is important for people to remember that marijuana can impair a person’s ability to drive safely.
Even when people drive as safely as possible, they are always at risk for becoming involved in a car accident with another driver who is under the influence of marijuana or other drugs. Because impaired drivers often have slowed reaction times, an accident can result in severe injuries and other damage. If it is proven that the other driver was under the influence when a crash occurred, the injured person may have the ability to seek compensation for medical costs and other damages. It can be advisable for victims to have the assistance of an attorney when doing so.