With the new law which eliminates criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana, the police are certain that there will be an increase in “drugged driving,” and the inevitable accidents that come along with it.

A few weeks ago, the Baltimore Sun interviewed multiple Maryland officials who all agree that a rash of drugged driving is on the horizon as the decriminalization of marijuana takes effect October 1. Driving under the influence of drugs will also lead to increased car accidents.

What have other states done to prevent marijuana related accidents?

To help curb the rise in marijuana related accidents, Colorado, which recently decriminalized marijuana use, has produced ad campaigns which state “Drive High, get a DUI.” Colorado has also increased the number of drug recognition expert officers on the police forces. While data is still being collected, anecdotal evidence shows that drugged driving is on the rise in that state.

Here in Maryland, we’re likely to face a similar problem. However, with drug recognition experts numbering half what Colorado has, we may struggle to keep drugged driving under control.

How does marijuana affect driving?

Marijuana reduces coordination, your ability to concentrate and can slow your reaction time. These effects can impair your driving and thus increase the chances of having a crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that even before decriminalization began in states across the country, THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was found in drivers in 7% of all car accidents. With decriminalization happening, that percentage is sure to climb.

When a driver is impaired, whether by alcohol or any other drug, he or she is still responsible for any injuries they cause. Often, those who are involved in accidents while under the influence are held to a higher level of accountability than otherwise, and are seen as more liable.

What if you’ve been hurt in a car accident involving marijuana?

If you have been hurt in an accident by somebody under the influence of marijuana, you have legal rights to compensation for your injuries. You need to call an attorney who understands the ever shifting legal environment, and who is prepared to help you.

The attorneys at Ingerman & Horwitz can meet with you in person and discuss your rights.