Due to numerous public safety, law-enforcement and government initiatives, most New Yorkers are aware of the dangers of drunk driving. Depending on how much a person has consumed before climbing behind the wheel, alcohol can have varying effects on one’s driving ability from slowed reaction time to loss of visual acuity. These drunk drivers put other motorist at serious risk of being involved in an injurious or even fatal accident.Yet, as the drug epidemic continues to sweep across America, many people find themselves asking how drug use affects driving abilities. While the effects of some drugs are readily observable, other drugs are a little harder to gauge. Marijuana, for example, may have a significant effect on one’s driving abilities, but it may be hard to detect just by observing an individual’s general demeanor.Marijuana can have many effects on one’s driving ability. It can slow reaction time, reduce motor skills coordination and impair an individual’s judgment. Some studies have found that marijuana use can increase the risk of an accident by two or three times. Of course, this risk is even higher when marijuana use is combined with alcohol consumption.
Far too many innocent individuals are injured or even killed in accidents caused by impaired drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs like marijuana. Perhaps, the most tragic part of these accidents is that they are wholly preventable.So, what does this mean for those who have been injured in an accident caused by an individual who is under the influence of marijuana? It means that they need to be observant of the individual with whom they were involved in an accident, and they need to clearly investigate the cause of their accident. Witness testimony about the driver’s demeanor and even drug tests, if they can be obtained, can be powerful evidence during a personal injury lawsuit.
Those who are able to show a direct connection between marijuana usage, driver impairment, and the injuries they suffered in an accident may be able to recovery compensation for their injuries. These damages may help account for medical expenses, lost wages and emotional pain and suffering. These cases can be more challenging than run-of-the-mill drunk driving accidents. However, by working closely with a competent legal professional, an individual may be able to build a strong legal claim that seeks to further their best interests.