Proponents of legalized marijuana talk about how the increased revenue has helped the State of Colorado. Of course, that’s a wonderful thing. More money for schools, mental health, and to help the homeless is certainly something to be admired. Yet, marijuana is a substance that can cause intoxication. Has the legalization of marijuana caused more auto accidents in Colorado? Regardless of where one stands on marijuana and its legalization, it’s an important question.
The Denver Post Tracked Data Related to Marijuana Use and Auto Accidents
According to an article published in August 2017 by The Denver Post, their staff tracked data related to marijuana use and auto accidents. The article states that data shows an increased positive result in marijuana tests conducted after a fatality test.
However, it’s not just an increase in marijuana use that seems to be related to the fatalities. Many of the positive tests on drivers showed up to five times the amount of use as allowed by law. One test from 2016 showed 22 times the state limit. Prior to 2016, the levels weren’t quite as high.
Additionally, the drivers who survived and tested positive for marijuana use in 2016 auto accidents showed levels that suggested the drivers used marijuana within the last few hours before being tested.
Why the Data Doesn’t Prove a Definitive Link
Although the data does show that more drivers are using marijuana, the data itself doesn’t prove a definitive link. It’s important to remember that marijuana use causes THC to remain in the body for days or weeks. It’s probable that marijuana use could be a factor if it were used shortly before the crash, but since THC remains in the system longer than other intoxicants, there’s no way to know for sure.
What’s the Legal Limit for Getting Behind the Wheel?
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the law specifies that drivers with five nanograms of THC in their blood can be prosecuted for driving under the influence. However, even if the level of THC is below the limit, law enforcement has the discretion to arrest drivers based on observed impairment. It does not matter whether the marijuana is medicinal or recreational.
Like other forms of DUI, if a driver refuses the THC blood test, their license will be revoked immediately and they will be considered a high-risk driver. They could be required to have an ignition interlock system, take education and therapy courses, pay fines, and face other serious legal consequences.
Involved in an Auto Accident?
If you were involved in an auto accident in Colorado, you need an experienced auto accident lawyer. Car accidents and the injuries and deaths that they can cause are handled through the civil court. Victims may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, disability, pain and suffering, and final expenses. If you’re involved in a car wreck, follow these steps and then call the experienced auto accident lawyers of Heuser & Heuser.
- Call 911 if you or anyone involved has a medical emergency.
- Call the police. The police will come and take a report. If it appears that any involved driver may be under the influence, they will administer the proper test. You will receive the report number so that you can get a copy of it.
- Take photos of the scene and the damage caused to the vehicle.
- Call the insurance company and report the accident.
- Get checked out by a doctor even if you don’t think you’re hurt.
Heuser & Heuser: Auto Accident Lawyers Who Care
If you’re involved in an auto accident, call Heuser & Heuser. Car accidents, regardless of whether marijuana may be involved, can get complicated. To ensure that your rights are protected, you need an experienced legal team. We care about our clients. Contact us as soon as you can after your accident. We’re ready to talk to you about what happened and help you with your potential case.