Houston residents often think of drinking alcohol as one of the most dangerous things a driver can do, and it is. However, alcohol is not the only substance that can impair drivers. Marijuana, for example, has proven to be dangerous for drivers.
A study that has been published by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that fatal motor vehicle accidents involving drivers who were high on marijuana tripled in the previous decade. It concludes that one out of every nine drivers that is involved in a fatal car accident has marijuana in his or her system at the time of the crash.
The researchers examined car accident data from 1996 to 2010, and found that each year marijuana was a factor in about as many fatal car accidents as alcohol.
Many people argue that they can drive safely while under the influence of marijuana, and in fact there are studies with conflicting results. Some show that driving while high is extremely dangerous, and others show that marijuana has little to no effect on drivers. In one recent study that took place in a state where marijuana is now legal, researchers found that marijuana does impair driving faculties, but only after smoking a considerable amount.
While marijuana’s exact effect on drivers is not as clear as alcohol’s effect on drivers, anything that lessens a driver’s focus and reaction time puts that driver at risk of harming him- or herself and others. Drivers can be held responsible for personal injury and wrongful death when they are in accidents while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Texas residents should seek legal advice after becoming a victim in such a crash.
Source: International Business Times, “Is Driving While High Dangerous? Fatal Car Accidents Involving Marijuana Triple Over 10 Years,” Philip Ross, Feb. 4, 2014