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Drugged Driving in New York: The Risks Are Serious

April 20, 2018 Car Accidents

Drugged driving is extremely dangerous and can significantly increase the risk of a collision occurring. New York City injury attorneys can provide representation to victims of accidents caused by drugged drivers and can help those victims to take appropriate legal action to obtain compensation.

Unfortunately, many people do not fully realize the dangers of drugged driving. Just recently, USA Today published an opinion article contributed by a project manager of the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program at the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The article urged motorists to take the dangers of driving after using marijuana seriously, especially as more places throughout the United States legalize the use of marijuana for either recreational or medicinal use.

Drivers Need to Take Drugged Driving Seriously

There are a variety of different factors that are contributing to the increased risk of drugged driving accidents by motorists who have used marijuana, according to the USA Today article.  One of the issues is that there are simply more people using marijuana more frequently.

Another problem is that there is no easy way to test if someone has used marijuana before driving. Unlike a breathalyzer, which can immediately and quickly show whether someone has consumed too much alcohol, there’s no simple chemical test to assess whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

Finally, a third factor is that most Americans don’t realize how dangerous driving on marijuana can actually be. In fact, recent surveys revealed that only around 40 percent of Americans believe that driving after using marijuana could be contributing to an increase in auto accidents.  The reality, which many people don’t really stop to think about, is that marijuana has been shown to increase reaction time, impair judgement of distance, impair judgement of time, and decrease driver coordination and make it more difficult for motorists to stay in their lane.

All of these factors could be contributing to a rising number of drugged drivers, which in turn could be causing death rates in motor vehicle accidents to rise. In 2016, there was the most significant year-to-year increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents in 53 years, even as improving vehicle safety technologies have made it far less likely for collisions to be fatal.

There have been decades of aggressive public safety campaigns alerting the public to the dangers of drunk driving, and the USA Today opinion article suggests that the same process should now be used to wage a campaign against driving while high on marijuana. A public education campaign raising awareness of the issue of drugged driving could help to dispel the myth that it is safe to use marijuana before getting behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, drivers are likely to continue driving on marijuana even if there are educational campaigns that highlight the dangers. If a drugged driver causes an accident and you or a loved one suffers injury, you should contact New York City injury attorneys to get help pursuing a claim for compensation.