When marijuana was first legalized in Colorado, an increase in fatal traffic accidents followed and, while several factors played a role in this increase, including population growth, traffic conditions along I-25, and increasing levels of distraction, marijuana use certainly contributed. In fact, in a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around 13 million Americans admited to driving while high.
Marijuana was legalized for recreational use in Colorado in 2012. Between 2012 and 2014, the rise in traffic deaths was nominal, seeing an increase of only 14 crashes over that period of time. A sharp spike was seen in 2015, with a peak of 648 fatal car accidents in 2018, a full 174 more fatal crashes than in 2012. This number has, however, trended downward over the past few years with 2020 on target to be closer to the 500 mark, which would be the lowest in five years.
Testing for Marijuana
Because there is no reliable way to field test for marijuana intoxication, crash data may be slightly skewed. Tests administered on the scene of an accident may include:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
- Walk and Turn Test
- One Leg Test
These are similar to tests administered to suspected drunk drivers and may be useful at spotting general intoxication. Blood, urine, and toxicology tests may be administered if a person is arrested or admitted to the hospital.
A person needn’t be found guilty of a crime to be held liable for damages they have caused. Regardless of extenuating or contributing factors, when you are injured by another driver, you have the right to seek compensation through legal action.
At Leventhal Sar, we take the time necessary to investigate every accident, enabling us to establish all contributing factors and build strong cases for our clients. If you have been injured in a car accident and you suspect marijuana played a role, we are here to stand by your side, uncover the cause of your accident, and help you get the justice you deserve.
Call 720-667-3030 to schedule a free consultation at our Cherry Creek office. We serve all Metro communities and surrounding areas of Colorado.