It can take years to develop an effective campaign to combat a major social issue like drunk driving. Educating New Yorkers on the medical and safety risks associated with some dangerous practices often involves using multiple platforms to promote awareness and enforce policies. And until the public is well informed and conscious of how certain behaviors can affect them directly, accident incident rates may continue to reflect a lack of awareness and poor judgment on the part of motorists. Recent study results suggest that there is a long way to go before motorists understand the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana.
Many people may still not be fully aware of the symptoms and risks associated with marijuana use while driving. Just as is the case with alcohol-related personal injury incidents, people that ingest marijuana and drive may experience serious impairments such as poor concentration, poor vision and/or hearing, and compromised judgment. Unlike alcohol, however, marijuana use is difficult to accurately determine in drivers because current testing techniques are known to be limited and unreliable.
A research study conducted by Columbia University recently found that the rate of fatal car accidents linked to marijuana use has increased considerably in the past decade. The survey included over 23,000 fatal accident cases from six states, and concluded that marijuana-related accident deaths have tripled. For instance, marijuana reportedly played a role in four percent of fatal car accidents in 1999. That percentage tripled the following year. Fatal drugged driving incidents also jumped from 16 percent to almost 30 percent during the same one-year period. Interestingly, the results of the study suggest that drug-related accident deaths are on the rise as drunk driving fatality rates remain consistent.
Source: myfoxaustin.com, “Fatal car crashes involving pot use have tripled in U. S.,” Dennis Thompson, Feb. 4, 2014