Driving While Under the Influence of Cannabis
January 02, 2019
Since the recent legalization of the production and sale of cannabis in the United States, the number of people driving under the influence of cannabis will likely rise over the next few years. This could be an increasing factor in car accidents since it is widely believed that driving while under the influence of cannabis is not dangerous and does not impair the driver.
Risks Associated with Cannabis Use and Driving
There is ongoing research about the risks associated with driving under the influence of cannabis and there are still questions surrounding the extent of the risk. Policy makers are considering how to measure the extent of the impairment due to cannabis to develop new laws. Other considerations are whether people who consume cannabis also consume alcohol or use other drugs simultaneously with cannabis. It is certain that there is some risk associated with cannabis use and driving, even though it may be lower than risks associated with alcohol use.
Developing a Proper Test for Impairment
One of the main issues with detecting and legislating cannabis use while driving is the problem with detection of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a main component of cannabis, in the body. A breathalyzer test for cannabis use remains to be developed. Use of a blood test may prove to be ineffective, since THC levels in the blood drop sharply even after a few minutes. A blood test also does not indicate how recently the drug was used and the extent of the impairment that a person may be under. Oral fluid testing can also demonstrate recent use but not the level of impairment. Therefore, testing on the side of the road may not be conclusive and may not be reflective of the driver’s ability. Too much ambiguity on how the test is administered and the level of impairment can lead to many policy concerns. Additionally, this could place too much discretion in the hands of law enforcement officers.
On the other hand, Americans are now spending 15 billion hours per year under the influence of cannabis and as it becomes legal in more states, this number will continue to climb. Although many states currently permit the use of cannabis for medical purposes, recreational use is being considered in a number of states, including New Jersey.
Some experts have advocated for laws that pertain to driving under the influence of cannabis to make the violation a traffic offense. If the impairment is found to be similar, cannabis use while driving may be treated similarly to driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Victims Injured in Drugged Driving Accidents
At DiTomaso Law, our Cherry Hill car accident lawyers can evaluate any claims you may have if you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident. Our offices are in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, helping us serve clients from the surrounding areas, including South Jersey, Mt. Holly, and Camden County. Call us today at 856-414-0010 or contact us online to assist and to analyze your car accident case.
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