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Is More Marijuana Use Likely to Increase Wichita DUI Rates?

In Wichita, motorists know drinking and driving can be deadly. Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports 10,000 fatalities annually because of impaired drivers who have had too much alcohol. While these thousands of deaths are far too many, there has actually been a significant decline in the number of people who are killed in motor vehicle crashes with drunk drivers. cannabis-817594-m

An experienced personal injury lawyer knows public education campaigns like "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk" have helped significantly reduce DUIs since the 1970s. The death toll has declined in traffic accident cases because of both more information about DUI dangers and better enforcement of strict drunk driving laws. Unfortunately, some of the progress that has been made in preventing deaths by impaired drivers could be reversed as a result of an increase in the number of people who use cannabis products.

Could More Stoned Drivers Lead to More Drunk Drivers?

There has been a well-organized and well-financed campaign in recent years encouraging lawmakers in every state and at the federal level to relax rules related to cannabis use. Legalization for both medicinal and recreational purposes has been widely considered nationwide and many states have begun the process of allowing marijuana use for either medicinal reasons or because people simply want to consume cannabis products.

The impact marijuana use is likely to have on road safety is not well understood. There are conflicting data points regarding how much THC, marijuana's active ingredient, can be in someone's blood before the use of marijuana causes impairment. Most data does, however, suggest that a motorist who has used marijuana before getting behind the wheel is going to drive worse than someone sober because the marijuana is going to affect judgment and result in delayed reflexes.

A recent study reported in Health Day suggests there may be another very dangerous factor when it comes to how marijuana use is going to impact road safety. The research shows that people who use both cannabis products (marijuana) and alcohol simultaneously are significantly more likely to drive while impaired as compared with someone who only uses alcohol.

It is not clear whether the marijuana causes the increased likelihood of driving drunk, or whether there is simply a correlation between people who consume alcohol and marijuana together and who then drive drunk.  Regardless of why people seem to drink and drive more after smoking, the phenomenon is of real concern. The risk of stoned and drunk drivers is likely to become an even bigger issue for people on the roads as public opinion shifts in support of accepting marijuana use.

Motorists need to remember that driving while drunk or high is illegal. As many as 18 percent of motor vehicle accident deaths in the U.S. involve drug use, like marijuana or cocaine. Motorists need to be sure they are always sober before they decide to drive anywhere.

If you or a loved one has been injured in Wichita, contact Warner Law Offices. Call 866-584-1032 today. 

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