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Increase of marijuana, drugged driving proves fatal on US roads

Drunk driving is already a big enough problem in the United States. People from Georgia to Washington either hear about them all the time in the news or, sadly have experienced or know someone who has experienced a drunk driving accident. It’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed. However, new evidence suggests that while drunk driving is still a major problem, the broader issue of impaired driving is gaining steam — in other words, drugged drivers are becoming more common.

It is unknown if the recent push by states and marijuana advocates to legalize the drug is the direct reason for this phenomenon, but it’s hard not to jump to that conclusion. A recent study provided more details about the increase of drugged driving in the U.S.

A co-author of the study says that one in nine drivers that are involved in a fatal car accident would test positive for marijuana; and that if the current trend continues, non-alcohol drugs would surpass alcohol for the most common intoxicant in a driver’s system in fatal accidents within five or six years.

Furthermore, the number of drivers impaired by marijuana in fatal accidents has surged in the past 11 years. In 1999, only 4 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had marijuana in their system. But in 2010, that figure jumped to 12 percent. Total drugged driving in fatal crashes increased from 16 percent in 1999 to 28 percent in 2010. As you can see, marijuana use in fatal crashes tripled; but drugged driving didn’t even double in frequency. Clearly, marijuana is a major contributor to this trend.

In any case, drugged driving or drunk driving; distracted driving or inattentive driving; it all falls under the same umbrella: negligent driving. People who engage in this reckless act can be held liable in civil court for any injuries they may cause innocent and unsuspecting people.

Source: Healthday News, “Fatal car crashes involving pot use have tripled in U.S.,” Dennis Thompson, Feb. 4, 2014