In the wake of the past few years’ recent elections, the legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic and significant controversial issue. Many have argued for this cause for individual liberties or for a natural remedy for symptoms in cancer treatment. However, this is an issue opening up new horizons in the law, and with brand new areas must come balance in regulation. While this may have natural medical use for some, for those who choose to use marijuana recreationally as a drug, we must consider the negative consequences this imposes on others, such as dangers to other motorists on the roadways and an increase in the likelihood of fatal motor vehicle accidents.
According to one recent article by US News, fatal car crashes in the United States involving marijuana usages have tripled all during this previous decade. This has created an overall increase in drug-related traffic deaths. Furthermore, current statistics show that one out of nine drivers would currently test positive for marijuana. This study was done by using crash statistics from six states, including Illinois, that routinely do toxicology tests after fatal motor vehicle accidents. Researchers found that “drugged driving,” particularly from marijuana, increased from 16% of fatal traffic deaths in 1999 to 28% in 2010.
What is noteworthy too, is that there are many drivers who drive not only under the influence of marijuana, but under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana simultaneously. According to the same article, when someone drives under the influence of alcohol, the risk of a fatal crash is 13 times greater than a sober driver. However, where someone is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, the risk amplifies to 24 times that of someone sober.