Since Colorado's legalization of recreational marijuana use, the substance has gained even more widespread acceptance. Stores selling the drug can be seen just about everywhere. Yet, simply because the substance has become legal does not mean that it is entirely safe. This is especially true when marijuana use is combined with driving a motor vehicle.
While alcohol still claims the top spot as the most widely used drug amongst those who drive while impaired, marijuana comes in second. It is estimated that there are about 7,000 new marijuana users in the U.S. every day, which is disturbing given the effects that it can have on one's driving ability. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marijuana can slow reaction time, impair coordination and cause memory loss. But the effects don't stop there. A driver who is under the influence of marijuana may also have trouble making decisions, possess a distorted perception and suffer from impaired decision-making.
Although these effects have been scientifically proven, it is more difficult to show just how frequently marijuana use contributes to car accidents. This is due to a number of reasons. For example, there isn't a roadside test for calculating marijuana use and any levels of THC like there is for testing alcohol use. Also, since marijuana can remain in one's system for a significant period of time, its mere presence may not indicate intoxication.
Despite these difficulties, Coloradoans who have been injured in an auto accident caused by an impaired driver can take legal action in hopes of imposing liability and recovering compensation for their damages. Although it may be difficult to prove that an individual was under the influence of marijuana at the time of an accident, the circumstances surrounding the crash may give clear indications of negligence, such as when a driver crosses the center line and causes a head-on collision. Those who would like assistance in building a personal injury case against these negligent motorists may want to sit down with a legal professional who is experienced at handling these types of cases.