The Messina Law Firm Oct. 19, 2018

Driving Stoned: As more and more states legalize or decriminalize pot possession, a surge in driving stoned has become troublesome. So much so, that the NTSB has issued a report on the snowballing problem. It has also asked another agency to standardize detection devices and set blood toxin levels that police can use to determine just how stoned drivers actually are. There should be little doubt, drug-impaired driving is going to become a monumental new task for law enforcement agencies.

Head-on Collision kills 13

Federal regulators are trying to come to grips with the growing opioid abuses and now the legalization of pot and it’s effect on driving safety of our roads and highways. The new regulations stem in part from a rural Texas head-on collision involving a pickup truck and a church bus that occurred in March 2017. The driver of the pickup was driving stoned and had also been taking anti-anxiety medications. The accident caused 13 fatalities, all inside the bus. Only one passenger survived. The driver of the pickup is facing 13 counts of intoxication manslaughter which could mean 270 years in prison. The driver of the pickup, Jack Dillon Young is due to be sentenced in November 2018.

Roadside Drug Testing

In 2006 drivers that were killed in traffic accidents were tested for drugs, those tests revealed 30% were drug-impaired. That figure rose to 46% in 2015. Furthermore, in random roadside drug testing, 22% of all drivers were found to have evidence of drug use. Those numbers, frightening as they are, will skyrocket with the legalization of pot.

Collision Claims Rise in States Where Pot is Legal

After retail sales of recreational pot began, the number of collision insurance claims in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington State rose about 6 percent compared to states where pot is still illegal. With almost half of all states making some form of pot legal, for either recreational use or medicinal use, the risks to all motorists have gotten much higher.

According to a recent poll, only 16% believe pot should remain illegal in the state of Texas.

Joey Messina

If you have been injured or lost a loved one to someone driving stoned, drug-impaired driving or DUI of any kind, then contact us.