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Marijuana-related fatal car accidents on the rise

Getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is a major responsibility. When a person is impaired, it can become easy to forget this. Still, this doesn't absolve a driver of the need to avoid putting others on the road at risk.

As we discussed in our most recent blog post from Jan. 27, driving under the influence of marijuana can be very dangerous. A study recently released by Columbia University confirms that this is a growing problem. As such, this should be of particular concern for Colorado residents, since it's legal to recreationally consume pot.

The Columbia study analyzed data from car crashes between 1999 and 2010. Over that period of time, drug use played an increasingly prominent role in fatal car accidents. Unfortunately, marijuana played the biggest role in the increase in drug-related accidents, tripling over that span of time. In 2010, 12 percent of the fatal crashes included in the study involved pot use.

According to an official from the Governors Highway Safety Association, consuming marijuana and driving is comparable to doing so under the influence of alcohol. Knowing this, similar steps should be taken on the part of motorists and law enforcement.

Although legal marijuana use is relatively new to Colorado residents, the idea that driving while high is dangerous shouldn't be a novel concept. Increasing drug DUI enforcement is one step that can be taken to prevent auto accidents, but ultimately the onus is on individual drivers to make wise choices.

Just as a person would find a designated driver after a night drinking at the bar, similar precautions might be necessary after consuming marijuana. Failure to follow through with this demonstrates a lack of concern and care.

Source: WTVG-13, "Fatal car crashes involving pot use have tripled in U.S.," Dennie Thompson, Feb. 4, 2014

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