Drivers who are under the influence in New Jersey are a frequent cause of auto accidents. Commonly, people who commit a DUI do so after drinking too much alcohol. Excessive alcohol use is a problem as is driving under the influence of drugs. While that is often linked to cocaine, opiates, prescription painkillers and methamphetamine, marijuana can also inhibit judgment and result in an auto accident. Since recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the Garden State, road safety is a worry for lawmakers, law enforcement and safe driving advocates. This adds to the list of factors that might have caused a collision and those involved should be aware of it as they decide how to proceed when recovering from injuries or have lost a loved one.
Young people encouraged to understand safe driving with marijuana now legal
The debate about whether marijuana should be legalized has largely been settled in many states, including in New Jersey. The combination of reality that people will use it regardless of legality, the criminal penalties that are deemed too harsh for nonviolent offenders and the state’s desire to garner tax revenue from its sale are just some of the reasons why it has been legalized. Still, that does not diminish the potential challenges that can come from its use. Notably, safety on the road has come to the forefront.
Younger drivers are the target of campaigns to emphasize safety now that marijuana is legal. Only those 21 and older can buy marijuana legally, but its rampant availability makes it likely that teens will get it and use it – often before they drive. This can cause auto accidents with injuries and death. To address this worry, SADD (Students Against Destructive Driving) is moving forward with education initiatives to promote safety. A representative of SADD stated that driving under the influence of marijuana is the same as driving under the influence of alcohol with the potential for the same terrible results.
Using a program called “Shifting Gears: The Blunt Truth About Marijuana,” AAA – which is partnering with SADD – is trying to teach younger drivers that since they are new on the road and are already at a disadvantage in experience and judgment when compared with veteran drivers, using marijuana could be the next step toward tragedy. Studies have determined that marijuana slows reactions just enough that accidents that might not have happened if the driver were fully sober occur.
The aftermath of a DUI auto accident requires a full investigation
Using any intoxicating substance before getting behind the wheel is a risk. When there is an auto accident and people are injured or lose a loved one, they will need to know how and why this occurred. Drivers who were under the influence of marijuana should be held accountable. If they were under legal age, it might be worthwhile to explore whether the location that sold it to them did so irresponsibly and in violation of the law so they too can be held responsible for their role. To cover for medical costs, lost income, lost companionship and more, having hands-on and personalized assistance with determining what steps to take can be vital to achieving a positive result.