This article was authored by a Rhode Island personal injury attorney who helps clients with drunk driving accidents (DUI / DWI / OUI) and driving while high collisions causing serious personal injury. Societal trends concerning the use and legalization of marijuana have changed dramatically in recent years. As a result the prevalence of marijuana induced high driving accidents have increased.
Will marijuana legalization lead to increased car accidents in RI and MA?
The chief of the Providence police recently was interviewed concerning the legalization of pot for recreational use in Massachusetts. “Providence Police Chief Hugh Clement tells WPRO’s Gene Valicenti that the upcoming legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts is “concerning but not alarming,” and is likely to lead to more car crashes caused by people driving while high. In Rhode Island, it’s been decriminalized for quite some time now,” Clement told Valicenti. “we don’t sweat and stress small amounts of marijuana.It’s a civil violation with a fine. Our main concern is with impaired driving.” But Clements said there’s no easy way to measure drug impairment, and he expects it’s going to be common to find people driving while impaired.” Providence Police Chief on legal Massachusetts pot: ‘concerning but not alarming’ 630 WPRO http://www.630wpro.com/2016/12/14/providence-police-chief-on-legal-massachusetts-pot-concerning-but-not-alarming/
The Effects of Marijuana on Traffic Safety
The trend toward the legalization of marijuana in the United States has raised concerns among some observers as to the effects of this practice on safe driving. Whether they are legal or illegal, drugs in general can create the same types of problems as alcohol when it comes to operating vehicles. However, the limited information available on this issue has made it difficult to assess marijuana use as a factor in traffic accidents and related deaths and injuries.
“Marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.6–8 Marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently found in the blood of drivers who have been involved in accidents, including fatal ones9 Two large European studies found that drivers with THC in their blood were roughly twice as likely to be culpable for a fatal accident than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol.10,11 However, the role played by marijuana in accidents is often unclear, because it can remain detectable in body fluids for days or even weeks after intoxication and because users frequently combine it with alcohol. Accident-involved drivers with THC in their blood, particularly higher levels, are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for the accident than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol. The risk associated with marijuana in combination with alcohol appears to be greater than that for either drug by itself.7” National Institute on drug abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/does-marijuana-use-affect-driving
Rhode Island wrongful death attorney- fatal car accident in RI or MA
An intoxicated or high motorist may also be texting while driving or committing distracted driving. Sadly high driving leads to pedestrian accidents as well as fatal car truck and motorcycle crashes. If your loved one, family member, child or spouse was killed was killed in a deadly / fatal motor vehicle crash in RI or MA then you should contact a top wrongful death attorney in Rhode Island. A RI wrongful death lawyer who has substantial experience litigating fatal car accidents in Providence superior Court should be consulted with as soon as possible
If you were injured as a result of a RI car accident or a MA auto wreck, contact a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer or a Mass. car accident attorney.
Traffic Accidents and Marijuana
Nearly half of the American states have in recent years legalized the use of marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes. Different studies have resulted in amazingly different conclusions as how these new policies have influenced traffic safety.
One report has shown a more than doubling of marijuana-related fatal accidents in Washington after the state legalized the drug in 2012. A different study indicated that one in nine drivers involved in fatal traffic accidents in the United States tested positively for marijuana. According to a federal report, marijuana-related driving accidents were generally lower than wrecks associated with the use of alcohol.
A Closer Look at the Facts by a RI intoxicated driving accident injury lawyer
Some experts have challenged the connection between marijuana use and traffic accidents. One study in fact showed little functional impairment in drivers who had used the drug, except in cases when they had also consumed significant amounts of alcohol. A large percentage of those who drive after the recent use of marijuana are known to be in the 18 to 25 age bracket, who have higher accident rates in general. Many of those involved in traffic wrecks have used both marijuana and alcohol. Additionally, the indications of marijuana can remain in the bloodstream days or even weeks after its use.
The Problem of Intoxicated Driving in Rhode Island
Despite the inconsistent findings on the effects of the drug, anyone who drives after the use marijuana can be subject to prosecution. In this regard, marijuana abuse is treated the same as excessive alcohol consumption. This means that users should rely upon designated drivers or find alternate means of getting to and from their intended destinations. Most importantly, marijuana use should included in any discussion on driving safety. Prevention is always the key to safety when facing any risk.
The Boston Globe located in Boston Massachusetts reported, “Even as pot remains illegal under federal law, possession, use, and home-growing are now allowed under state law for adults 21 and over. But public consumption of the drug remains forbidden in Massachusetts, as do several related activities, such as smoking weed anywhere tobacco smoking is prohibited. It will also be illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, though there is no cannabis equivalent in the law to the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit. Selling pot, too, remains outlawed until the state treasurer sets up a regulated marketplace and licenses retail stores. The law sets a January 2018 time frame for pot shops to open, creating a legal gray zone until then — buying up to an ounce of pot from a dealer is legal, but the dealer is breaking the law.” https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/12/14/official-marijuana-legal-midnight-massachusetts/10Rl2inZQMjSPrNAMSBkCJ/story.html
If you were injured in a Rhode island car, truck, motorcycle or motor vehicle accident then contact a personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island who is a also a car accident attorney in Providence.
Information for this account was obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.gov), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov) and the National Institutes of Health (www.ncbi.nlm.gov).
Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.