Is Marijuana Legalization Creating an Increase in Car Accidents?
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. residents support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. A handful of states have already done so, and additional states are considering similar measures. April 20, or 4/20, has become the unofficial holiday of marijuana aficionados everywhere.
A study published recently in Jama Internal Medicine, however, suggests that the celebration of 4/20 by consuming marijuana may have an unintended and potentially deadly side effect: fatal car accidents.
The study looked at fatal car accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) covering a 25-year span, from 1992 to 2017. They focused on accidents that occurred after 4:20 p.m. on April 20 each year, then compared these accidents to crashes during the same time period in the week before and the week after April 20.
The data showed that on April 20, the risk of a fatal car accident was 12 times higher than on the week before or the week after. Overall, researchers estimate, the 4/20 holiday may have contributed to 142 deaths in the past 25 years.
Researchers compared it to the increased risks of accidents that occur on Super Bowl Sunday – another event that not all U.S. residents celebrate, but that can result in overindulgence in alcohol or other substances, which in turn can impair drivers and lead to a crash.
Although recreational marijuana is legal in some states, driving under its influence remains illegal throughout the country. Anyone injured by an impaired driver may be able to seek damages for their injuries, such as compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
At Christopher A. Brown, Counselors at Law, our experienced Atlantic City personal injury attorneys focus on protecting the rights of our clients. If you’ve been injured and need help, contact us today at 609.344.8270 for a free, confidential consultation.
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