Colorado and Washington states both legalized marijuana for recreational use a couple of years ago. In Washington, pot was legalized in November 2012.
The Colorado State Patrol has released their data for last year (2014) concerning marijuana and driving. According to their statistics, The Colorado Patrol found that 12 percent of DUI cases involved marijuana. In 6% of the 5,546 drivers cited for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, 6.4% were under the influence of marijuana only.
Both Washington and Colorado, and any states that is considering legalizing pot, are concerned about stoned driving. States are trying to answer the important question, “Will roads be less safe?” after marijuana legalization.
Colorado has been working hard to educate their drivers that driving high [on marijuana] will get them a DUI. 21% of marijuana users say they did not realize that they could get cited for DUI driving after using the drug.
Colorado Statistics are Lacking
The Colorado statistics still seem to be lacking in their answers to crucial questions. What was the rate of marijuana intoxication citations prior to legalizations? Was their an increase in car accidents in correlation with the legalization of marijuana?
Drug Recognition Expert
A blood test is used to tell if a driver is intoxicated on marijuana. Washington state law limits drivers to a five nanograms of THC per milliliter of whole blood. However, police officers must have a warrant to obtain a driver’s blood.
Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) are police officers who are trained to detect if motorists are under the influence of drugs other than alcohol. In Washington state, DREs often are called to testify in court. More than 200 police officers across Washington are trained to be DREs after they undergo a two-week training program.
DRE’s are called by arresting officers if a driver’s is suspected of being under the influence of drugs other than alcohol. Often this follows a breath alcohol test with inconsistent results. The DRE expert will take a suspect’s pulse, examine their eyes and gaze, perform a divided attention test, check for injection sites, take statements and exam for muscle tone.
Washington Vehicle Code
In Washington, a person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state while under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or while the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 46.61.502(1)(a)-(b)(West 2010).
High Profile Washington Car Accident Case Involving Marijuana
Just last year, a mother of two caused a major car accident in Snohomish County that injured nine people including two of her own child. The woman, admitted to smoking marijuana prior to the car accident but her blood test was not performed until three hours after the accident. At that time, her THC level was 3.8 nanograms, under the legal limit for intoxication. The WSP toxicologist said the level at the time of the accident was probably higher but was unable to determine what the woman’s THC level was at the time of the accident.
Washington Attorney Represents victims of Drugged and Drunk Driving
If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a car accident involving a drugged driver, we recommend that you obtain a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will work hard to make sure your rights are protected. At The Farber Law Group, we will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Herbert Farber will work immediately to help preserve crucial evidence regarding your case.
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