The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that the number of drivers who tested positive for THC, the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis, rose from 8.6 to 12.6 percent between 2007 and 2014. This problem is becoming more challenging as more states are allowing recreational or medicinal use of marijuana. The Highway Loss Data Institute conducted a study and reported that the number of car accidents has increased in states that allow marijuana use.
Determining the cause of marijuana-related accidents is much more difficult than alcohol-related accidents. Unlike drunk driving, there are no field sobriety tests for marijuana or effective devices like breathalyzers. There is no objective legal limit for THC, like the measured blood alcohol content for liquor.
it is often difficult for police to determine whether a driver is impaired by drugs, such as marijuana. Police have long received training on recognizing drunk drivers, but there has been little instruction on identifying marijuana-impaired drivers.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recommended training police officers to recognize when drivers are impaired by marijuana instead of enforcing an arbitrary and unscientific THC limit. Other proposals include a training recognition program for police that includes a 12-step evaluation to detect drug impairment and instruction on topics such as pharmacology and toxicology.
Victims of these car accidents should seek legal assistance to gather evidence and take other action to pursue compensation for their losses. Lawyers can obtain information and assure that rights are protected.