The legal use of recreational marijuana continues to spread across the country, with more than one-third of the states having laws on the books. Others look at the significant tax revenue generated from sales and are considering ballot initiatives of their own. However, legal cannabis is not without controversy, particularly its impact on road safety throughout the US.
Driving while “high” is dangerous and deadly
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) reported serious accidents jumped six percent, and fatal collisions increased to four percent in states where marijuana is sold on a retail level. California is part of the five-state collective that includes Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, where people under the influence are causing an increasing number of crashes.
Even more alarming is another IIHS study that also showed accident injury and fatality rates skyrocketed in the short time following the enactment of more relaxed laws.
It is no surprise that those high on marijuana react more slowly and suffer from diminished attention spans. When behind the wheel of a car or truck, staying in their lane presents challenges, as do the most routine of maneuvers. While tests also reveal traveling at slower speeds and maintaining more distance between the vehicles in front of them, the risks are still prevalent and potentially deadly.
Nearly 70 percent of American adults approve of legalization, a number that continues to rise, but not as quickly as marijuana use doubling from 6 to 12 percent when comparing 2008 and 2019 surveys. More “customers” could mean more problems on roads.
Regardless of the substance that impairs a driver, operating a vehicle under the influence presents deadly dangers to every driver and passenger throughout California. In a split second, a collision can change, and even end lives.