A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that 54 percent of traffic accident victims are intoxicated on one or more substances at the time of their crash. In addition, the study found that THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, was the most prevalent intoxicant in car accident victims. Alcohol was a close second.
While 54 percent of traffic accident victims were found to be intoxicated, 20 percent of these had two or more drugs in their system. This is very common with OTC and prescription drug use, but THC with alcohol also proved extremely common.
Recreational and medicinal marijuana laws vary from state to state, but only 12 states continue to ban the substance entirely. However, studies have found legalization has only a minor impact on traffic accidents. Research published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that injurious traffic accidents increased by 5.8 percent after the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana. In addition, fatal accidents increase, on average, by 4.1 percent.
However, even in states where marijuana remains illegal, driver intoxication plays a role in severe and fatal accidents. In fact, three of the five trauma centers from which data was gathered for this study were in states where marijuana remains entirely illegal. Nonetheless, 25.1 percent of victims tested positive for THC.
Can I Still File a Claim if I Was Intoxicated at the Time of My Accident?
Several factors contribute to motor vehicle accidents. In some states, if it is determined that you are less than 50 percent responsible for a crash, you can still seek compensation. In others, you may waive your right to seek compensation if you contributed to your accident. In all, there may be legal consequences for driving while intoxicated. The best way to learn what you are entitled to is through a private consultation with an experienced attorney.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an auto accident, you need a lawyer to help you sort through the mess. Use our attorney directory to find a practice in your area that can help.