Understanding Drugged Driving
We all know that drinking and driving is not only dangerous but against the law. But the laws regarding driving while under the influence of drugs are a bit vague. What drugs are illegal to use while driving? How do police test you for drug use if they suspect intoxication?
Police can easily determine if a person is driving drunk by measuring blood alcohol content via blood, breath or urine. Using these tests, law enforcement can easily see if a driver has reached the level of impairment by testing for a blood alcohol content (BAC) in New York of .08 or more. With drugs, though, testing for impairment is not as easy.
Drugs do not impair people in the same way. Some people feel fine after taking a large dose, while others become impaired much more quickly. In addition, some drugs stay in a person’s body longer than others, meaning a person could have taken a drug a week ago and still have lingering residue in their system.
Complicating things is the fact that marijuana has become more accepted and even legalized in many states across the nation. Nine states now allow recreational use of marijuana. Thirty states, including New York, have legalized marijuana for medical use. Complete legalization of marijuana in New Jersey is expected soon.
Is Marijuana Safe?
There is a lot of debate over the safety of marijuana. Many people believe that the drug is harmless, but some statistics suggest otherwise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal accidents caused by marijuana use have doubled between 2007 and 2015.
Besides alcohol, marijuana is the drug most commonly found in the blood of those involved in car accidents. There are tests that can detect certain chemicals of marijuana in the blood. However, it is yet to be determined how cannabis affects a person. The main chemical in marijuana, THC, can be detected for weeks after use. Therefore, the exact date of use cannot be determined and a person with this chemical in their blood is not necessarily high. However, studies have shown that drivers with THC in their blood are twice as likely to cause a deadly accident than those who have no drugs or alcohol in their system.
Overall, it is hard to determine just how many accidents are caused by drugged driving. There are no reliable tests to determine intoxication by drugs. In addition, police will typically check a driver for alcohol intoxication first before checking for drug use. Plus, those who are charged with DUI often have both drugs and alcohol in their system. In these cases, it is difficult to determine which had the greater effect.
Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney Today
While drunk driving is still fairly common, drugged driving is becoming more and more common as states legalize marijuana. Even though marijuana is legal in many states, it is still illegal under federal law and it is also illegal to use while driving.
If drugged driving caused your car accident, you need aggressive legal help on your side. Let New York car accident attorney Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. P.C. help you with your case. Contact him online or contact his office by phone to schedule a consultation.