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Will Legal Marijuana Use Lead to More Car Accidents in Illinois?

Posted on in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Illinois drunk driver liability attorneyOn January 1, 2020, the use of marijuana became legal in Illinois, and adults who live in the state are now allowed to possess and use this drug for both medical and recreational purposes. For many people in the state, the legalization of marijuana has raised concerns about whether more people will be driving while under the influence of this drug. Just as drunk driving can greatly increase the risk of being involved in a car accident, the use of marijuana can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. Those who have been involved in a collision with a driver who had been using marijuana will want to work with a personal injury attorney to determine their options for receiving financial compensation for their injuries.

The Dangers of Driving While High on Marijuana

Marijuana can have similar effects as alcohol for drivers. The “high” produced by THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, can cause impairments to a person’s coordination, and it will also lead to reduced reaction times. This will make it more difficult for a driver to respond to the movements of other vehicles, and it will also increase the likelihood that they will lose control of their vehicle. Marijuana use also affects a person’s judgment, making it more likely that they will engage in risky behavior that could endanger others.

In Illinois, a person may face charges of driving under the influence if a chemical test shows that they had at least five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms per milliliter of another bodily substance, such as saliva or urine. If a driver who was involved in a car accident is tested and found to be over the legal limit for THC, they may be liable for injuries suffered by others who were involved in the collision.

Marijuana Legalization May Lead to Increased Car Accident Rates

While it is not yet known whether the legalization of marijuana has led to more car accidents in Illinois, studies performed in other states indicate that increased accident rates are likely. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) looked at accident rates in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada following the legalization of marijuana in those states, and it found that the number of accidents increased by 6% compared to other bordering states where marijuana is still illegal. 

Contact Our Barrington, IL Car Accident Lawyers

Just as drivers understand that drunk driving is dangerous, everyone should be aware that driving while under the influence of marijuana can lead to dangerous collisions that may cause injuries to other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. If you have been injured by a driver who was high on marijuana, Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC can help you determine your legal options, and we will work to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries. Contact our Barrington personal injury attorneys today at 847-381-8700 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can assist with your case.

 

Sources:

https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/crashes-rise-in-first-states-to-begin-legalized-retail-sales-of-recreational-marijuana

https://www.nsc.org/in-the-newsroom/nsc-statement-on-legalization-of-recreational-marijuana-in-illinois

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

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