Will Legalized Marijuana Result in More Motor Vehicle Crashes?

car accident lawyer New YorkDespite overall statewide and local support for the legalization for marijuana, there has been concern that legalizing the drug may mean an increase in motor vehicle crashes.


Newsday reported on a poll from Quinnipiac University showing that 57% of New York State voters surveyed support the legalization of marijuana, while 37% opposed. On Long Island, support was at 57%-41%.


However, at the same time, those who supported legal pot also expressed concern about an increase in car crashes as a result of legalization, according to the Newsday article. Statewide, the poll found that 58% were concerned about more car crashes, while 40% were not. In New York City, 50% expressed concern, compared to 47%, while suburbanites said such an increase in motor vehicle accidents would happen, by a 65%-33% margin.


The respondents’ concern coincides with a report that was released from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute that showed four states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada — saw a combined 6% jump in crashes from 2012 to 2017 after the retail sale of marijuana was legalized. Colorado was the first of the four states to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in January 2014, followed by Washington (July 2014), Oregon (October 2015) and Nevada (July 2017).


Meanwhile, the surrounding states that did not allow the sale of recreational pot saw no such increase. Those states included Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. A separate study from IIHS found that from 2012 to 2016, police-reported crashes in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington as a result of recreational pot were up 5.2%.


But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its own report showing that the probability of a crash involving THC — tetrahydrocannabinol, the main ingredient found in marijuana — is zero. Further, the study stated that the fact that the driver tested positive for marijuana only proved that the drug was in the driver’s system, not that the driver was impaired.


If you have been injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver or a driver under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, it is important to contact an experienced New York personal injury attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies. The attorneys at Levine & Slavit, PLLC have over 60 years of experience representing clients in personal injury actions, including motor vehicle accidents. With law offices conveniently located in Long Island and New York City, Levine & Slavit, PLLC represents clients throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County as well as Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (888)-LAW-8088.

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