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Marijuana May Double Illinois’ Drivers Accident Risk

Yesterday, our Chicago car accident attorneys read a report on the USNews Health website about how smoking marijuana can seriously increase crash risk for drivers. The article reported that a new study concluded that driving after smoking marijuana makes drivers twice as likely to get into an accident. The risk becomes even higher if other drugs or alcohol have been used. This study comes at a time when more and more states are legalizing or considering legalizing the use of the drug for medicinal purposes.

In 2009, a study found that more than 10 million people, 12 years old and over, have driven after using illegal drugs. Furthermore, about 28 percent of drivers who die in car accidents test positively for drugs in their system. The reason why marijuana can be so dangerous to drivers is because it slows down reaction time, alertness, and coordination for the driver. Although there are some conflicting studies, generally it has been found that the use of marijuana has a very negative affect on driving.

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this summer about how driving under the influence of marijuana led to one fatal hit and run accident. A driver, who was under the influence of marijuana and other drugs, drove his car off of the road and killed a runner. The driver, who was sentenced to almost 11 years in prison, had been prescribed medical marijuana. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study and found that almost 17% of all nighttime drivers were on various drugs, nearly 9% on marijuana alone. Because medical marijuana use is becoming so prevalent in some states, and because studies like these are showing the negative side affects for drivers, some states are reevaluating and conducting more research to better understand the effects of this drug and what they can do to combat intoxicated driving.

Our Illinois car accident attorneys strongly urge all drivers to avoid driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Getting behind the wheel is a conscious decision and these dangerous practices are one hundred percent avoidable and preventable. When drivers take the risk of driving with drugs or alcohol in their system, not only do they put their own lives at risk, but they also endanger everyone on the road, including bikers, pedestrians, and other motor vehicles. Our Illinois car crash lawyers have successfully handled many cases of this nature, and if you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk or intoxicated driver, we may be able to help you receive fair compensation for the harms caused. Please contact us with any questions or inquiries you may have.