A recent post here discussed how marijuana can diminish an individual's ability to drive safely. Those who are under the influence of this and other drugs can see their reaction times decreased, their ability to multitask limited and their perception impaired. As a result, they put themselves and other motorists at risk of being involved in a car accident. Negligent drivers who run red lights, fail to sufficiently brake for slow or stopped traffic and those who cross over into oncoming traffic can all cause serious and even fatal wrecks. Sadly, these are just a few of the negligent acts that can leave innocent individuals with serious injuries.
Now, a recently released study shows that marijuana use may, in fact, contribute to an increase in car accidents. The study, which was published in the journal BMJ Open, looked at car accident rates in Colorado after the legalization of marijuana. Researchers found crashes increased by 10% after legalization, which likely contributed to a significant number of accident-related injuries.
Sadly, the true effects of drug use are yet to be seen. There is insufficient testing available to determine when motorists are impaired by drugs, which may contribute to an underreporting of drug-related accidents. Also, there can be many contributing factors to a car accident, so sometimes it is challenging to tell if any one particular action or inaction was the exact cause of a car accident.
The truth of the matter is that regardless of the presence of drug use, certain acts are pretty obvious signs of negligence. A motorist who fails to yield to a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk, for example, has broken the law and will likely be deemed liable for any injuries suffered by that pedestrian. These cases aren't always clear cut, which is why Phoenix area residents who are harmed by the negligence of another need to carefully consider their legal options under personal injury law.