More and more, marijuana is being legalized across the United States. There are many reasons for this including the changing perspectives about it and the cost for prosecuting people accused of low-level crimes related to it. Recently, Virginia became one of the latest states to legalize it. This will undoubtedly benefit many people as they no longer need to fear an arrest and a criminal record for a crime that is generally not viewed as serious. Still, there are concerns about its legalization including drivers who might get behind the wheel after using marijuana and potentially have an auto accident.
Experts express concern over marijuana DUI and possible crashes
Legalization of marijuana does not mean that people should use it before or while driving. Unfortunately, people might do just that. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Virginia is emphasizing the danger of driving under the influence of marijuana. According to AAA, states with legalized marijuana saw a 153% spike in fatal accidents. One, the State of Washington, had its fatal collisions double within a decade.
Regardless of its general legalization, it remains illegal for people to use it in a vehicle. This not only relates to driving, but for passengers as well. As with any substance that can cause impairment, drivers may see their reaction time and judgment negatively impacted placing themselves and others in jeopardy. For example, a driver might not realize he or she is too close to the vehicle in front or could drift from their lane. This is a challenge lawmakers and law enforcement must grapple with. When there is a collision, it is wise for those involved to bear in mind that it might be due to a DUI from marijuana use.
The cause of an auto accident is key when assessing options
Since those who have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in an auto accident will likely face financial turmoil, physical problems and the possibility that their lives will be changed forever, it is beneficial to consider the alternatives. That includes pursuing a legal claim. If the crash happened because a person was under the influence of marijuana, evidence of this could be crucial. From the beginning, having professional guidance may be needed to assess the situation and plot a path forward to recover compensation for all that was lost.