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Marijuana use in fatal wrecks is skyrocketing in the US

As Arizona residents are well aware, Colorado is directly northeast of our state. Together, these two states form half of the “Four Corners.” But what our two states don’t share is the same laws about marijuana. In Colorado, the state passed a law that makes recreational use of marijuana legal. Along with Washington, these two states made a huge splash last November by furthering the cause of marijuana legalization.

There are many rumors now that marijuana legalization will spread to other states, and given how this movement has swelled in the past decade or two, it is not surprising that it has come to this. But what many people may not be considering in the marijuana legalization debate is what the impact of this potentially legal substance would be on state roads.

According to one study, the effect will be disastrous — and, in fact, it has already been disastrous. In 2010, more than 28 percent of traffic deaths involved a drugged driver. But in 1999, that figure was more than 16 percent. When broken down a bit further, in 2010, 12 percent of traffic deaths were contributed to marijuana. In 1999, that metric was 4 percent.

Clearly, marijuana is playing a crucial factor here. One of the co-authors of the study says that about one in nine drivers that are involved in a fatal accident test positive for marijuana. If the trend of drug use in this country continues, non-alcohol drugs will surpass alcohol for being the most common factor in a driver’s impairment. These drivers who choose to negligently get behind the wheel while impaired can (and should) be held liable for the damage and harm they cause.

HealthDay News, “Fatal car crashes involving pot use have tripled in U.S.,” Dennis Thompson, Feb. 4, 2014

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