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Austin Personal Injury Blog

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Recreational Marijuana May Drive Up the Rate of Car Accidents

Could car accident rates increase if Texas approves recreational marijuana?

With several states across the nation moving towards the approval of recreational marijuana, more studies are being released concerning the potential impacts of marijuana usage on public safety.   One such study has found an alarming link between the legalization of recreational marijuana and car accidents.  Our Texas automobile accident lawyers discuss the potential impact of marijuana use on automobile accident rates and your rights if injured by a drugged driver.

Texas Issued Its First Medical Marijuana License

While Texas may still be years away from authorizing the sale of recreational marijuana, it has passed laws allowing medical marijuana.  Last month, the state issued its first medical marijuana license to Cansortium Texas.  Two more companies are expected to receive licenses soon.

Texas’ medical marijuana laws remain strict and limited, allowing for prescription medical marijuana only to treat patients with untreatable epilepsy.  The law further requires two doctors to agree that a patient would benefit from medical marijuana. The doctors must then enter themselves and their patients into the DPS registry. Although the law is limited now, it is anticipated that Texas will start to expand its medical marijuana laws in the coming years, in line with several other states across the country.

Auto Crashes and Recreational Marijuana

The Highway Loss Data Institute examined the number of car accidents reported to insurance companies in the states of Colorado, Oregon, and Washington after passage of recreational marijuana laws.  The study found a three percent increase in the number of accidents in the states that allow for recreational marijuana use.  

While the study points to a potential link between marijuana use and car accidents, it is important to note that the study did not directly look at whether the drivers causing these accidents were high.  Other factors could have influenced the study.

Research will continue into the public safety effects of legal marijuana usage.  Drivers nationwide are cautioned to contact an attorney right away if they suspect the driver that hit them was on drugs.  Drugged drivers can often conceal their substance abuse far better than drunk drivers because a simple Breathalyzer test will not detect the use of drugs.  Without swift action, evidence of the other driver’s drugged state could be lost forever.

 


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