States across the nation have begun legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. Voters in Washington state legalized the drug in 2012. The legal use of marijuana, though, has brought about new concerns, specifically when it comes to driving.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it is difficult to attribute car accidents to marijuana because it can remain in the body long after the effects have worn off. However, some studies have proven that using marijuana increases the chances a person will be involved in an accident. The drug can affect reaction time, judgment and coordination.
However, the Washington Times reported that managing drivers under the influence of marijuana is not as easy as managing those under the influence of alcohol. There are still not adequate measures available to test drivers. Current tests really cannot tell how high a driver is, so lawmakers cannot set limits as they do for alcohol.
One study showed the number of car crashes involving drivers who test positive for marijuana has risen since the state legalized the drug. On the other hand, there are studies that show no correlation between marijuana use and an increase in traffic accidents. Suggestions have been made that the increase in accidents in the state by drivers who test positive for marijuana has simply been due to other factors, like the fact that the drug is now legal, so more of the population is using it. In the end, it is not entirely clear just what affect marijuana is having on the roadways.