Officials in Massachusetts recently awarded licenses to 20 different dispensaries of medical marijuana throughout the state. While some question whether the process of granting these licenses was flawed, the fact is that the state is moving forward on a bumpy road towards legalizing marijuana, at least for medical use.
Massachusetts is not the only state in the U.S. that has liberalized its drug laws and that has made marijuana use more permissible. Medical marijuana has become widely accepted and recreational marijuana use is now allowed in two different locations in the country. While advocates of legalization tout the benefits of this relaxation in the war on drugs, there is also a downside that has become apparent: drugged driving crashes are on the rise.
Victims of a drugged driving crash need to understand their legal rights and pursue a damage claim against the driver responsible. A Boston impaired driving attorney can help victims of a drugged driving crash to obtain compensation for injuries and losses.
Study Shows That Drugged Driving is Becoming a Major Issue
To understand how trends in drunk driving and drugged driving were changing, researchers conducted a review of accident data from six states from 1999 to 2010. The six states were selected because they routinely performed toxicology tests on drivers in fatal accidents. The researchers identified 23,500 drivers who died within an hour of a collision, and took a close look at their toxicology tests.
The data showed that there had been a relatively steady number of fatal accidents involving drunk drivers over the course of a decade. The number of deadly accidents where the driver was intoxicated hovered right around 40 percent during this entire time period.
When it comes to accidents involving drug use, however, there was nothing steady about the numbers. In 1999, drug use was a factor in around 16 percent of crashes. Marijuana, in particular, was believed to have played a role in just about four percent of the fatal collisions during 1999.
In 2010, the number of drivers in fatal collisions who tested positive for drugs had risen to 28 percent. The increase was nearly entirely driven by the fact that so many of the motorists were now testing positive for pot use. In 2010, for example, around 12 percent of the drivers who had been involved in deadly accidents had marijuana in their system.
This rise in marijuana-related collisions comes at a time when research shows that pot use is increasing among both men and women. The study results also looked at a time before widespread legalization efforts gained the momentum that they have today. This means things could be getting much worse in upcoming years.
Researchers already predicted that if trends continued, drugged driving could become the leading cause of impaired-driving deaths within the next five to six years, overtaking drunk driving. With attitudes towards marijuana use become so relaxed and with there now being so little stigma associated with pot use, it seems clear that these predictions are right and that marijuana could become the leading cause of impaired driving collisions sooner even than anyone thought.
If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
Habitual Drunk Driver Arrested In Lowell, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, December 1, 2013