Christina Rivenbark & Associates ATTORNEYS AT LAW

Marijuana Plus Driving Equals an Increased Risk of a Car Accident

First it was drunk driving, then it was distracted driving and now it is drugged driving. It seems people don't just get in their car and drive anymore. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana does affect your coordination, concentration and reaction time. All of these impairments combine to make a car accident much more likely.

Studies have shown that drivers who have smoked marijuana within three hours of driving a vehicle are twice as likely to cause a car crash. The type of the vehicle did not noticeably impact the results of the study. The marijuana users were identified either by a blood test or admission at the time of the accident.

Marijuana limits your brain's effectiveness, impairs your coordination and slows your thinking. Studies have also shown a link between marijuana use and an increased rate of depression or anxiety. If drivers' reflexes are slowed to a point where they cannot react as quickly as needed, the result could be a severe or deadly car accident.

The State of North Carolina believes anyone commits an offense if they drive under the influence of a controlled substance. A North Carolina truck driver recently faced charges of vehicular homicide for causing an accident in which three people died while impaired by drug use. However, it is not clear what drugs were used.

The lesson for people is to not risk lives by driving under the influence of marijuana- it is important to understand that a person's driving abilities will be compromised if under the influence and they should find an alternative way home.

Source: "Marijuana users twice as likely to cause car crash," Associated Press, Feb. 2, 2012

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