Virtually every motorist in Palm Beach County including Wellington, West Palm Beach and all of South Florida knows that driving after consuming alcohol can significantly increase the risk of a car accident. Public education campaigns have been remarkably successful in reducing the drunk driving rate since the 1970s, which has in-turn significantly reduced the overall rate of deaths in motor vehicle accidents. An experienced accident lawyer knows that tough laws against DUI combined with public education has created enough social stigma that many people no longer drive while impaired.
Unfortunately, increased use of cannabis may be undoing some of the progress that was made when it comes to preventing accidents caused by impaired drivers. Driving after consuming cannabis may be dangerous because motorists have slower reaction time and impaired judgment; however, the full extent of the risk of stoned driving has not yet been definitively established. The increasing use of marijuana may also be dangerous for another reason: people who use cannabis while also drinking alcohol are twice as likely to get behind the wheel when they are drunk as compared with people who only use alcohol and not THC products as well.
Marijuana Can Make People More Likely to Drive While Impaired
Health Day reported on a recent study about the dangers of increased acceptance of cannabis use. Throughout the United States, public opinion on cannabis use has shifted significantly over just the past few years. Not only has marijuana use become more accepted for medical purposes, but recreational use of marijuana is also becoming more accepted. The result is either decriminalization (relaxation of penalties) or even legalization of marijuana use for medicinal and recreational purposes in states throughout the country. As marijuana becomes more socially acceptable, the number of people who use cannabis products is likely to increase.
This can be a problem for road safety because there is double the chance that someone who uses cannabis products with alcohol will get behind the wheel.
One study reviewed the responses of more than 9,000 people to various questionnaires about the use of drugs and alcohol. In that study, 89 percent of respondents indicated that they only used alcohol and did not use cannabis. A total of 11 percent of respondents said that they also used marijuana products along with alcohol. Among the respondents, just four percent said they usually used marijuana independently of alcohol. The majority of the people who used both substances said that they used both alcohol and cannabis at the same time in most cases.
These individuals who use both drugs and alcohol are going to be more likely to get behind the wheel after using cannabis and alcohol than people who have just gotten drunk. The data from the study was old, and with more people now using marijuana as laws become more relaxed, there are likely more people who are combining the two substances and who could present a risk to themselves and others on the roads.
Drivers need to be aware that both alcohol and cannabis are dangerous when driving, and the combination of the two substances could be an especially big risk when it comes to safely operating a motor vehicle.
If you or a loved one is injured in a traffic accident, visit www.davidglatthornlaw.com or contact David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 to discuss your rights. Serving Palm Beach County including Wellington, West Palm Beach and all of South Florida.