Articles Posted in Drugged Driving

Do recreational pot laws cause an uptick in traffic accidents and fatalities?

Several studies say that they do. If you, a family member, or a friend have been in an accident caused by an intoxicated person in Massachusetts, contact our law firm as soon as possible. We can help.

Percent of THC-Positive Drivers in Fatal Crashes in Washington Has Doubleddriving4

Researchers who looked at Washington state found that the percentage of drivers who tested positive for THC after a fatal crash has doubled since the state legalized the use of recreational marijuana in 2012. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and the component in the drug that makes people feel “high.”

The researchers found that from 2008 to 2012—the five-year period before marijuana was legal—approximately 8.8% of drivers involved in deadly crashes were THC-positive. That rate jumped to 18% in the five-year period from 2013 to 2017.

AAA Foundation for Traffic performed the study and released the results in January 2020. The study did not try to ascertain if marijuana caused or contributed to the crashes.

The researchers also discovered that the average number of THC-positive drivers involved in fatal crashes increased. In the five years prior to legalization, an average of 56 drivers involved in fatal crashes per year were THC-positive compared to an average of 130 drivers five years after legalization.

“This study enabled us to review a full 10-years’ worth of data about the potential impact of marijuana on driving safety—and it raises significant concerns,” Dr. David Yang, executive director of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a Jan. 30, 2020, statement. Continue reading

It is the most dangerous time of the year on the roads for young drivers, and alcohol is a factor in a significant number of these crashes.

From spring break until the end of graduation season, teenagers and young adults will be celebrating newfound freedoms, hitting the road with friends, and attending parties and family gatherings. Our drunk driving injury lawyers urge parents and friends to reduce the risk of tragedy by talking openly to young people about the dangers of driving intoxicated, and by being a proper role model. ambulance-300x201

And it’s not just alcohol that is cause for concern. As we’ve reported, the opioid crisis and increasingly permissive marijuana laws continue to increase the risk of a collision with a drugged driver. The Spring Break season began with an editorial in the Boston Herald that suggests drugged driving is now as serious a problem as drunk driving.

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Riding a motorcycle in the Greater Boston area, especially on the shore area south of the city, can be a lot of fun.  Many people enjoy being out on the road and experiencing the thrill and excitement of riding a motorcycle with the wind in their face and being exposed to the elements as this can convey a real sense of freedom.

Boston Drugged Driving Accident However, this exposure also means exposure to a much higher degree of danger of personal injury or even death due to less protection for motorcycle riders as opposed to passengers in cars with crumple zones and numerous airbags in the passenger compartment of a traditional vehicle. However, if a negligent driver, or even a driver who is drunk or on drugs causes a serious or fatal crash involving a motorcycle, it is not the fault of the motorcycle rider just because he chooses to use a comparatively more dangerous means of transportation.  Continue reading

A recent study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs revealed 1 in 3 recent high school graduates have ridden with an impaired driver in the last year, and they were more likely to be a passenger of a marijuana-impaired driver than one who is alcohol-impaired. drugged driving injury

Although the prevalence of marijuana use has increased with a growing movement toward cannabis legalization nationally, this behavior remains as risky as ever.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in a report to Congress last summer, reveals the signs of marijuana-impaired driving may be more difficult to detect than alcohol-impaired driving, but it’s no less dangerous. Marijuana users are about 25 percent more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers with no evidence of marijuana use, according to NHTSA. Some of the ways cannabis impairs a person include:

  • Reduced reaction time and less ability to make decisions;
  • Impairment of coordination, distorted perception, memory loss and trouble problem-solving;
  • Divided attention to tasks.

Safe driving requires the person behind the wheel to be alert and ready to rapidly respond to hazards. While some argue drivers under the influence of marijuana are less of a danger than those under the influence of alcohol, the reality is there is nothing safe about driving under the influence of any substance.  Continue reading

A recent report by The Drive indicates operating under the influence of drugs is a growing and serious problem in Massachusetts, but one police and government officials aren’t prepared to sufficiently take on. OUI injury lawyer

NBC Boston reports the number of driver’s license revocations for operating under the influence of drugs has risen 65 percent over the last three years, with the legalization of marijuana and the rising tide of the opioid crisis blamed. Police say they are “constantly” responding to drugged-driving crashes and stopping motorists who are too high to drive safely. Further, not enough police officers have the proper specialized training necessary to identify a driver who is under the influence of drugs – and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s because drug impairment isn’t tested the same way as alcohol impairment. With alcohol, MGL ch. 90 section 24 indicates anyone with a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeds 0.08 is considered impaired. However, there isn’t the same kind of testing for drugs, though some states have set arbitrary limits. But a person who uses marijuana daily may have high levels of THC in their blood, yet not meet the criteria for being impaired; drugs tend to stay in the system longer than alcohol, meaning testing positive for it isn’t a surefire indicator of impairment.

That has implications not just for the criminal justice system, but also on civil impaired driving cases, spurred by the crashes these motorists cause. There is of course the indirect impact which is that if law enforcement is ineffective in identifying, arresting and prosecuting offenders, the streets aren’t as safe and we’re likely to see an increasing number of these offenders on our streets. The direct impact, though, is that evidence derived in the criminal case can also be used in civil litigation, though the processes are totally separate. Evidence of impairment can be used when working to establish a defendant’s negligence, or the failure to use reasonable care resulting in a foreseeable harm.  Continue reading

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