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Marijuana use contributes more to accidents, study says

As the recreational use of marijuana is decriminalized, legislators must deal with the looming danger of road safety. This fear is supported by a recent study regarding fatal car accidents and how often drivers tested positive for marijuana. According to the Columbia University Center for Epidemiology and Prevention, one in nine drivers killed in a car accident had marijuana in their systems at the time of the crash. This led researchers to suggest that drug use could have played a part in the accident.

Researchers reviewed data from toxicology reports from a number of states that require such testing in the midst of a fatal crash, including California, Hawaii, West Virginia, and Illinois. Through more than 23,000 reports, drugged driving was a contributing factor in an increasing number of accidents between 1999 and 2010. In 1999, marijuana use was the main factor in four percent of fatal accidents. By 2010, it had tripled to 12 percent of fatal crashes. 

The researchers also found that marijuana use increased among men and women, as well as through different age groups.

Because of this, law enforcement agencies are looking for more drivers who are impaired by drugs (particularly marijuana) while behind the wheel. The problem is that many portable drug testing kits may prove to be unreliable when it comes to detecting illegal drugs. In a number of instances, the kits identified perfectly legal substances (i.e. glazed sugar, chocolate, Tylenol) as illegal substances.

As such, those charged with crimes have the right to challenge inaccurate evidence. This is where an experienced criminal defense attorney will be helpful. A skilled lawyer can expose these inaccuracies and petition to have your case dismissed. If you have questions about this process, we invite you to contact us. 

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