Just when one drunk driving campaign comes to an end, news of another horrific DUI/DWI-related accident launches another one. Drunk driving is always in the news and even teens who are too young to drink or drive know about the dangers it presents to drivers and passengers alike. However, as prescription and illegal drugs become more and more prevalent in our society, legislators and social activists have launched campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of drugged driving and how common it really is on our country’s roads.
In Colorado, recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, which only makes it easier for people to obtain and use the drug. And even though the drug is only legal in 23 states for medical use and in 3 others for recreational use, many people still find ways to buy and smoke it, causing intoxication of a different kind for those who get behind the wheel. Marijuana causes your brain to function differently, and if you add in trying to calculate stopping distances and gauge driving speeds, it can create a serious challenge for drugged drivers.
Prescription drug use and abuse is another rapidly growing problem, as more and more people rely on medication for daily or long-term treatment. Many of the people who take prescription drugs also drive, and in most cases, they are unaware of the serious risk they put themselves and others in when they use their prescriptions and then hit the road. Even if a suggested side effect of certain medications is drowsiness, this presents itself differently from person to person. It’s recommended that people become more familiar with their prescriptions and how they react to them before driving.
In September 2015, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a report that highlights the dangers of drugged driving and recommends that the country’s legislators implement new laws and campaigns to fight back against drugged driving. First and foremost, the GHSA recommends widespread education on drugged driving, with an emphasis on marijuana. Surveys conducted in Colorado and Washington show that many drivers believe marijuana has no effect on how they drive, while some believe that it actually improves their abilities.
In Colorado, it is against the law to drive with a THC concentration above the state’s “per se” limit, which is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. However, it’s hard to get a true assessment of how dangerous even minimal amounts of marijuana are for drivers since it’s typically used in combination with other drugs or alcohol when it results in an accident.
According to statistics collected in 2013, about 40 percent of drivers who died in car accidents tested positive for drugs, and more than a third of that group had traces of marijuana in their systems. In that year, over 32,700 people died as a result of car crashes.
It’s clear that we need more clarity and awareness when it comes to drugged driving and preventing accidents. For more information on Colorado’s DUI/DWI laws and personal injury claims, contact a Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law Firm today.