Campaigns warning of the dangers of getting into a car with someone who has been drinking have largely been effective. Unfortunately, the same stigma is not necessarily attached to driving while impaired by marijuana. A recent press release from a researcher at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst reports that underage college men tend to discount the dangers of getting into the car with someone who is high.
Driving under the influence of marijuana is just as dangerous, and just as illegal, as driving under the influence of someone who has consumed alcohol. Victims injured by an impaired driver should consult with an experienced Boston injury lawyer for more information and for assistance with a claim to recover compensation for losses.
Stoned Driving Dangers Underestimated
Researchers asked 640 incoming freshman at the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin if they were willing to take part in a study. A total of 338 freshman ended up taking part. The students were asked whether they had used marijuana and whether they had used alcohol over the 28 days prior to being surveyed. The students were also asked about their habits of driving while stoned or driving while drunk.
A total of 30 percent of men and 13 percent of females responding to the study said that they had used marijuana in the 30 days before the survey. Among the men, 67 percent said they had used alcohol and 23 percent said they had used both alcohol and marijuana. Among the women, 64 percent had used alcohol and nine percent had used both alcohol and marijuana.
When asked about driving, 44 percent of men and nine percent of women admitted that they had driven after using marijuana. More than half of the males surveyed– 51 percent– said that they had ridden as a passenger with a driver who had used marijuana and 35 percent of females rode in a car with a marijuana-using driver. When comparing these numbers to alcohol, the difference is startling as just seven percent of surveyed students indicated that they drank and drove.
As Medical Daily points out, the data shows that there is clearly a misconception that marijuana use is safe and that it is OK to drive after consuming cannabis products. The reality, however, is that drugged driving is not safe.
In a Discovery Channel program, four people who were high on different substances were asked to perform different tasks including a driving test. The participant who was on marijuana did not drive in a reckless way, but his coordination was affected by the drug and he had slowed reactions, slower riving and slower movements. The impaired judgment that can come from marijuana use could make it more difficult to avoid a collision and could put the driver, his passengers and others on the road at risk of being seriously hurt or even killed.
Those who are injured by a driver who has consumed cannabis products should speak with an experienced attorney to understand their legal options and to take action to obtain monetary damages.
If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
NHTSA Urges Ignition Interlock Devices for all Drunk Driving Offenders, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, December 28, 2013