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Will More Marijuana Use Increase Roanoke Impaired Driving Collisions?

An experienced personal injury lawyer knows that drinking while driving is one of the most dangerous activities behind the wheel -- with high likelihood of a motor vehicle crash happening in Roanoke, Rocky Mount, Franklin County and Southwest Virginia each time a motorist chooses to get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol or drugs. cannabis-817594-m

There has also been increasing concern about how risky it is for motorists to drive after consuming marijuana, especially as marijuana use has become more common due to relaxation of criminal laws on the use of marijuana.  While studies are unclear about how much THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) someone can safely consume before he or she is too impaired to drive, there is evidence to suggest that marijuana use can impact a motorist's reaction time and make him less safe behind the wheel.

Health Day recently reported one troubling new study that shows motorists who use both alcohol and marijuana may be at especially high risk of becoming involved in a drunk driving crash.

The Risks of Driving After Drinking and Using Marijuana

Researchers analyzed data from national surveys on alcohol use between 2005 and 2010. Surveys that were included in the research included almost 9,000 participants from across the United States.

Drinkers and drug users responding to the survey were divided into three groups: the first group only drank alcohol; the second group used both marijuana and alcohol but always used the substances separately; and the third group usually consumed both drugs and alcohol together.

At the time of the survey, the vast majority of respondents (89 percent) only used alcohol.  This may be different now that marijuana laws have become more relaxed and marijuana use more accepted over the past five years.  Even in this earlier data, however, 11 percent of respondents said they also used marijuana.  Around four percent of respondents said that they always used the alcohol and the marijuana separately, and 7.5 percent said they usually take both substances together.

People who use both cannabis and alcohol are significantly more likely to become involved in dangerous behaviors like drunk driving.  In fact, people who drink and smoke at the same time are twice as likely to drive drunk as people who just use alcohol.

Marijuana seems to enhance the impact of alcohol among people who use both products, and the risks associated with becoming involved in a crash are greater for people who are both high and drunk.  Marijuana and other drugs currently play a role in about 18 percent of motor vehicle accidents in the United States, but if marijuana increases the likelihood of drunk driving then there may be more dangerous accidents as marijuana use increases among the general population.

If you have been injured, contact Davis, Davis, Davis & Davis, PC today at 866-434-1581 or visit www.davislawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.  Serving Roanoke, Rocky Mount, Franklin County and Southwest Virginia.  

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