As marijuana legalization rolls across the country, researches have been given the opportunity to study how it affects various states in their various forms of legalization. And, recently, one such study has found that in states where marijuana has been legalized, there is a corresponding increase in vehicle accidents.
The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute. Their study analyzed auto accident rates in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Colorado, all states that have legalized recreational marijuana in both use and retail sales. IIHS and HLDI looked at emergency room reports and accident reports.
IIHS and HLDI found that in the months following marijuana legalization, the number of severe and fatal auto accidents rose considerably. Indeed, there was a 6 percent increase in injury auto accidents and a 4 percent increase in fatalities, when compared to similarly located states that did not legalize marijuana.
Nonetheless, study cautioned that correlation does not equal causation because when they examined the emergency room reports for the car accidents, they found that marijuana use alone was not the cause. In fact, they found that the fact that a person uses marijuana does not make them any more likely to be involved in an accident than a non-user. And, this finding is inline with a prior 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that found the same. Of course, this is not to say that one on marijuana is not anymore of a dangerous driver than a sober driver, only that one’s use of it does not necessarily make them a more dangerous driver.
Personal injury lawsuits after an accident
Regardless of the findings of this study, if it is found that a negligent driver was intoxicated (on alcohol, marijuana or any other controlled substance), a personal injury lawsuit can help the accident victim get civil justice. For Lake Oswego, Oregon, residents, calling an attorney is the first step though in hold them accountable.