Spike in Marijuana Use Linked to Increase in Fatal WrecksMay 7, 2018
For marijuana enthusiasts, April 20th has become the unofficial holiday to celebrate all things cannabis. There is some speculation about how this date became Weed Day, including a possible nod to a Bob Dylan song, and a group of friends known as the Waldos, who, in the early 1970s, got together every day at 4:20 p.m. to get high. However, it has since become a widely celebrated day observed by those who support the use of recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, the spike in marijuana use on this day has been linked to a rise in fatal car accidents, according to a study published in the journal, LAMA Internal Medicine.
Researchers studied 25 years of car accident data in the United States, focusing on the wrecks that involved fatalities. They looked at the number of fatalities that occurred on April 20th between 4:20 p.m. and midnight and compared them to the fatal accidents that occurred during the same time one week prior to April 20th and one week after. While there was no difference between the number of fatalities on April 20th before 4:20 p.m. and the other dates analyzed, the number of fatalities that occurred after 4:20 p.m. increased by 12 percent. Younger drivers, aged 20 and younger, accounted for the most fatalities on that day.
Significance of the Research Findings
The results of the research do not necessarily mean that marijuana use causes fatal accidents. Currently, there is no definitive roadside test that can confirm marijuana intoxication. Blood tests do not provide an accurate measure of intoxication because marijuana can remain in the system for weeks after using it. A breathalyzer capable of testing for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical compound in a person’s breath from marijuana, is still in the research phase, but may provide a useful tool in the future. What the findings do suggest, however, is that more research, increased awareness, and public education is needed to warn people about the risks of driving while under the influence of marijuana.
As more states across the country legalize the use of recreational marijuana, finding a way to test for marijuana intoxication will become more important, particularly on days when there is a predictable increase in the use of marijuana. Until an effective tool like a breathalyzer is available, it will be difficult, if not impossible to know which fatal crashes are directly caused by marijuana use. The more information that becomes available about marijuana’s effect on a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, the better we will be able to keep motorists safe on the road.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Car Accident Victims Harmed by Negligent Drivers
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident involving another driver who you believe was driving impaired, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Several studies have shown that marijuana use can cause slower reactions and affect coordination, particularly when combined with alcohol. These types of wrecks can be prevented if motorists avoid getting behind the wheel after using these substances. Our dedicated and experienced team will work tirelessly to secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.