Michigan recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana, which is inline with the decriminalization that is occurring across the nation pertaining to marijuana-related offenses. Although the drug is becoming more widely acceptable in society, many have concerns about how marijuana use will affect those who are under its influence when they climb behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Many Michigan residents are well aware of the dangers of drunk driving, but drugged driving, including driving under the influence of marijuana, can be just as dangerous.

Marijuana can have a significant affect on an individual’s driving capacities. To start, marijuana use slows reaction time. This may mean that a motorist is unable to slow in time to prevent a collision with a pedestrian at a crosswalk or halt for slowed or stopped traffic. In conjunction with this, studies have shown that driving while under the influence of marijuana can decrease a motorist’s ability to concentrate and perceive distance and time.

Since marijuana’s wide spread acceptance is relatively new, there is not a plethora of research indicating its impact on car accident statistics. However, the few studies that have been conducted have shown that marijuana increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. In fact, one study found that marijuana doubles the chances of an individual being involved in a wreck that results in serious injuries or death. Of course, as with alcohol, the combination of marijuana use with other drugs, as well as increased levels of THC, increase the chances of a driver being involved in a serious crash.

Regardless of the drug involved, whether it is alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin, a driver who is under the influence can cause a serious car accident that leaves innocent individuals seriously injured. Tragically, these victims often face significant losses, including those that are physical, emotional and financial in nature. To seek accountability and hopefully recover compensation for their losses, these victims may want to consider pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. This civil action can help make an accident victim whole again.