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 laweekly.com, 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.