Now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, will that fact impact the number of marijuana-impaired driving accidents in the state? Two studies last year may shed some light on how legalized marijuana use impacts the number of accidents caused by drug-impaired drivers.
No Increase in Fatalities Caused by Marijuana-Impaired Drivers
One study published in the American Journal of Public Health studied the fatality rates in crashes from 2009 through 2015 in Colorado and Washington. Both states have legalized recreational marijuana. The researchers compared fatality crash information from both states to eight other states that had not legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. After reviewing all the information, researchers for the study concluded that there was not a statistical increase in crash fatalities in either Washington or Colorado compared to the states in the study during the three years after marijuana was legalized.
A Slight Increase in Accident Rates
However, another study reviewed the crash reports in three states where marijuana is legal for recreational use. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) examined the data from January 2012 through October 2016 to determine if the number of crashes increased more than expected in states that had legalized marijuana for recreational use. When compared to crash rates from other states, the study found that the number of accidents was slightly higher than the anticipated number of accidents in these states.
Is Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Still Illegal in California?
Yes, driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal in California. If you are impaired by any dry, including marijuana, you can be arrested for drugged driving. A conviction for drugged driving can have severe penalties, including jail time, suspended license, fines, and other punishments. If you cause a marijuana-impaired driving accident, you could face even stiffer penalties, in addition to civil liability for damages.
Receiving Compensation from a Drugged Driver
When a drugged driver causes a car accident, that driver can face criminal and civil penalties. In other words, in addition to the criminal punishments, the driver can be held liable for any damages caused by the crash. For example, if a drugged driver injures you, you might receive money for your injuries, including the cost of medical treatment, physical pain, loss of income, and emotional suffering. You can also recover compensation for the damage to your vehicle.
However, you must prove that the drugged driver caused the crash. Even though a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol, that does not automatically mean that the driver caused the crash. If you were 100 percent responsible for the cause of the crash, you could not recover any money from the other driver, even if that driver was impaired by marijuana or another drug.
Therefore, it is very important to work with an attorney who can investigate the cause of the crash and obtain evidence to prove the other driver was at fault for the crash. Our Sacramento marijuana-impaired accident attorneys are ready to fight for your right to receive a fair settlement for your injuries and damages.
Sacramento Drugged Driving Attorneys
Do not wait too long to contact an accident attorney. Your time to file a claim is limited by law. To discuss your case, call The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 to schedule a free consultation. Our law firm serves clients in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, El Dorado Hills and other communities in the greater Sacramento area.