Driving under the influence of drugs causes around 18 percent of motor vehicle deaths in the United States. Driving under the influence of alcohol is also extremely dangerous, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving indicating that thee are more than 10,000 fatalities each year as a result of impaired motorists.
An Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer should be consulted in situations when a driver is impaired by alcohol, cannabis (marijuana), or other prescription and non-prescription medications. Motorists who make the unsafe choice to operate a vehicle while impaired should be responsible for paying for all losses and damages incurred by innocent victims who are harmed as a result of the illegal and unsafe acts.
Now, recent evidence suggests that drivers who use cannabis and alcohol may have a greater chance of getting behind the wheel when impaired as compared with people who do not use both of these substances. Since marijuana use is becoming much more widely accepted throughout the United States as laws are relaxed and public opinion shifts, this new evidence is bad news when it comes to accident prevention.
Could Marijuana Use Make an Atlanta Motorist More Likely to Drive Drunk?
According to Health Day, a person who has consumed marijuana and alcohol at the same time is twice as likely to drive his vehicle while he is drunk as compared with a person who has used alcohol only and not also used marijuana.
Researchers believe that the majority of people who use both marijuana and alcohol tend to use both substances together. A large-scale study of drug and alcohol habits was conducted, which reviewed data from more than 9,000 different survey respondents. The data was collected between 2005 and 2010, which was before public attitudes and public policy started to shift towards finding cannabis use more socially acceptable.
The results of the survey showed that 89 percent of people used alcohol but did not use cannabis. A total of 11 percent of people who responded to surveys used both pot and alcohol. The survey respondents who used both substances generally tended to use them together. Only four percent of people used alcohol and cannabis primarily at different times. A total of around 7.5 percent of people said that they used the alcohol and cannabis products together.
Alcohol and cannabis can be dangerous independently. Using alcohol before getting in the car can double the risk of a motor vehicle accident. The exact specifics of how marijuana use affects the risk of an accident are not yet known. However, research into the effects of cannabis on driving abilities has shown that drivers are at greater risk of a crash due to impaired judgment and delayed reaction time.
When the two substances are combined together in the body, motorists may be even more affected and less able to make safe choices to avert accidents and keep the roads safe. This means it is very bad news that people who use alcohol and cannabis together are more likely to drive impaired compared with people who use the substances independently or who only drink.
Motorists need to be aware of the added risks of alcohol and cannabis consumption. Drivers who choose to make the dangerous decision to drive drunk and high need to be held accountable for their actions.