Since the early '90s, April 20 has been a self-proclaimed holiday for marijuana users. Therefore, it's not surprising that car crash rates increase around that date. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use can impair driving skills. Drivers in Louisiana will want to know more about the connection between the holiday and nationwide crash rates.
A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzed U.S. government data on fatal car crashes between 1992 and 2016. Researchers found that in most states, fatal car crash rates increased in the study period that included 4/20 when compared to the weeks preceding and following it. They estimated that over 140 driver deaths were linked to 4/20, amounting to an overall increase of 12 percent each time the holiday came around.
However, researchers could not link the accidents directly to marijuana use. Access to police data on drug testing was limited, and another obstacle is that many drivers combine marijuana use with alcohol consumption.
Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, is one state that has taken steps to reduce accidents on 4/20. Last year, the Colorado DoT partnered with Lyft and a pot industry group to provide discounted rides to marijuana users on 4/20. The state also recognizes the need to increase awareness of drug-impaired driving.
When marijuana users decide to get behind the wheel, they will be responsible for any car accidents they cause. Victims will want to hire an accident lawyer who has access to toxicologists, investigators and other experts so that their case can hold up in court. Even if evidence of drug use is lacking, the lawyer simply needs to show that the other party engaged in negligent actions. He or she can then negotiate a settlement or go straight to litigation.