Marijuana Twice as Likely to Cause Car Crashes

By Peter DePaolis

Washington, D.C., along with 16 states, has legalized marijuana for medical use. However, are drivers high on marijuana more likely to cause an auto accident? Researchers in the past thought that drivers under the influence of marijuana made more careful drivers because they tend to drive slower and behave more deliberately behind the wheel. Now, a study out of Columbia University says that drivers high on marijuana are twice as likely to cause a car crash as unimpaired drivers are.

As reported at, almost one-third of drivers involved in fatal car crashes tested positive for non-alcoholic drugs. Marijuana is the top non-alcoholic drug, according to the study. One researcher commented that drug-impaired driving is becoming more prevalent with the legalization of marijuana for medical use. It is crucial that we get a better understanding of marijuana’s role in causing a car accident, added the researcher.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana stays in one’s system long after the “high” effect is gone. This means law enforcement has a tough time proving that a driver was actually high at the time of an accident, even though marijuana remains in his or her system.

With all the attention on drunken driving, will you know what to do after a car accident if the other driver is high as opposed to drunk? Contact our office today.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia Injury Attorneys

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.