A photo of an accident with the words, "has legalization caused a rise in car accidents?"

Marijuana has been a hot topic in lawmaking. Over the past few years, many states have completely legalized marijuana and ended arrests for possessing the drug for recreational purposes. Texas remains one of the few states where the legalization of marijuana is extremely limited. While cannabis oil for medicinal purposes is allowed, having marijuana on hand for recreational purposes is still illegal.

Since the legalization of cannabis oil in 2019, many individuals have been watching car accident statistics, wondering if the numbers will rise. While the pandemic in 2020 skewed the data of car accidents since many people stayed at home, we can still get an idea of what might happen with the legalization of marijuana by taking a look at statistics from other states.

Car Accident Cases in Legalized Marijuana States

Marijuana is becoming more widely available as the nation as a whole becomes more accepting of the drug. While car accidents have been steadily rising over the years, supporters of the drug often argue that this trend can’t be directly related to marijuana. While this is true, there is an unsettling trend which the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found while monitoring the states of Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. When comparing highway crash data from the year before the drug was legalized and the year after, the IIHS found that there was a 5.2% to 6% rise in car accidents.

It is important to note that there is no direct correlation between marijuana usage and fatal car accidents. Researchers came to this conclusion when reviewing federal fatal accident statistics from 2009-2015.

Marijuana Car Accident Statistics Pre-Medicinal Legalization

Before cannabis oil was legal in Texas, there was a steady rise in car accidents that were directly related to marijuana. In 2012, 170 drivers tested positive for marijuana after their accident, and 300 drivers tested positive in 2016.

The Difficulty in Correlating Marijuana Usage with Car Accidents

There is a major difficulty in pinpointing marijuana as the cause of car accidents because of how it is absorbed through the body. Unlike alcohol which is absorbed by the bloodstream, marijuana is absorbed through fat. While alcohol levels can be directly shown through a blood alcohol test, marijuana may still show traces in the body without affecting the cognitive and reasoning skills of the individual.

Effects of Marijuana on Driving

Driving under the influence is still illegal even if recreational marijuana is becoming more accepted and medicinal cannabis in the form of cannabis oil is legal in Texas.  According to the National Drug Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, all of which can negatively affect a person’s ability to drive safely.

While it can be more difficult to pinpoint that marijuana contributed to the car accident since the drug can be evident in the body without impairing the user’s judgment, it can still be a factor. If you were involved in an accident where the other driver was driving under the influence of marijuana, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Having a strong legal team to support your claim can help you get the compensation you deserve and ensure that your voice is heard.

Although it’s still too early to tell if the legalization of cannabis oil will cause a direct rise in car accidents in the State of Texas, you can rest assured that the team at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. will be there for you. We work hard to ensure that our clients can focus on their recovery while we focus on getting them the compensation they deserve. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule your free no-obligation consultation.