A recent study analyzed the impact of marijuana use on fatal accidents. Researchers reviewed car accident data with a focus on one specific day: April 20th. The significance of the day resides within the celebration of a counterculture holiday known as the "High Holiday."
On this day, a number of Americans partake in the use of marijuana. As a result, the researchers used car accident data from this specific date to speculate on the impact of marijuana drug use on a driver's ability to safely operate a vehicle. The results were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
What did researchers find about marijuana use and fatal accidents? The researchers used data from the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Researchers focused on data from 1992 to 2016 with a focus on accidents that occurred between 4:20 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. on April 20th.
Ultimately, the study found that the risk of involvement in a fatal accident was significantly higher on April 20th. This finding supports the contention that marijuana use contributes to deadly car accidents.
What does this mean for victims of car accidents? The laws that govern marijuana use throughout the country are evolving. Although there is not currently a protocol to test for marijuana use after an accident as there is for alcohol use, one may soon develop.
Until then, victims involved in a car accident that believe the wreck was the fault of the other driver still have legal recourse. Drivers are required to operate their vehicles with care. In the event that a driver fails to do so and this failure results in an accident, that driver is likely liable for any costs that result from the crash.