As many Californians who follow politics probably know, this state recently joined nine others in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. This means that adult residents of Orange County can use the drug without facing repercussions from the police, provided that they follow applicable laws and restrictions.
Naturally, California’s prohibition on drugged driving remains intact. As is the case with any other drug, someone who chooses to get behind the wheel while high from marijuana could easily cause a fatal car accident.
Some experts in the field say that liberalized marijuana laws, like California’s, are increasing instances of drugged driving. Specifically, when studying the number of crashes reported to insurance companies, other states that have recently legalized marijuana have seen a marked increase relative to other states. Likewise, it seems that marijuana may be contributing to more fatalities on the road, with more motorists involved in deadly accidents testing positive for the drug.
Critics of this information, however, have pointed out that marijuana stays in one’s system for long after the high from the drug wears off. Thus, the fact that a driver used marijuana at some point before a deadly accident does not mean that the accident was caused by drugged driving.
No matter how one feels about the state’s loosened approach to marijuana, drivers in the area need to be aware that it may be more likely that they will encounter a motorist who is high on the substance. This is true simply because more people will turn to the drug now that it is legal. On the other hand, those who choose to use it must remember they still have an obligation to drive sober. If they fail to do so, they may be held liable for any injuries or deaths that result.