Sacramento Drivers Should Know the Consequences of Drunk Driving

Drunk drivers can face huge fines and long jail terms as well as permanent strikes on their driving record. The penalties are so high because driving drunk endangers not only the driver but also every other driver, cyclist and pedestrian on the road simultaneously.

We know what drunk driving can do and how to punish drunk drivers for the crime. What is not so well established is drivers under the influence of marijuana. The research on this topic is sparse and subjective which explains why laws pertaining to it vary so widely from state to state. 

 The National Institute on Drug Abuse partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to extensively research any link that may be between car accidents and marijuana use. 

A large part of the study was held using the University of Iowa's National Advanced Driving Simulator, the most advanced in the world. Researchers study, specifically, any link between inhaled marijuana use and car accidents. 

The results of the study thus far has proven that on any given weekend night, roughly 16% of drivers on the road will be under the influence of some type of drugs. Of all drugged drivers, marijuana has the biggest chance of appearing in intoxication tests.

While we do know what the presence of alcohol can do to drivers we are not so sure about the effects of marijuana on a driver. Because of this basic ignorance some states will convict a driver of driving under the influence if even a slight hint of marijuana is in their system while other states will only convict if there is obvious proof of impairment. This was the first study to study, specifically, the effects of inhaled marijuana on driving skills.  

There are some facts about marijuana’s affects on the human body. It slows reaction time and impairs coordination and judgment. These facts alone prove that drivers using marijuana have an increased chance of being involved in and even responsible for a car accident. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6.8 percent of drivers, the majority under age 35, were involved in accidents and tested positive for THC. The group for marijuana law reform, NORML, reports that marijuana impairment does not appear to be severe or long lasting. While driving, this impairment manifests itself by drivers decreasing their driving speed and requiring greater time to react to emergency situations.

The interesting difference in drivers under the influence of marijuana and those under alcohol’s influence is that those smoking marijuana realize their impairment and adjust by driving slower and focusing their attention while drunk drivers speed up, drive erratically and with abandon.

Regardless of behavior, marijuana can be the cause of negligent driving. It has been shown to be the determining force in smokers. Drivers involved in an accident with a driver under the influence of marijuana have a right to be compensated for their damages and any personal injury. Contacting a lawyer is imperative.

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