Marijuana Contributing to Increase of Highway Deaths?

Without a doubt, marijuana use is controversial and with more states legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, it’s important to continue to be aware of any potential dangers on our roadways. In states, where marijuana use is legal, there’s a greater chance that more drivers will be under the influence. Even more controversial is whether or not marijuana use contributes to the increase of car accidents and roadway deaths.


It’s illegal to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol in all states. Marijuana, whether legal or not, is treated like any other drug and drivers can be faced with DUI offenses. Although DUI charges are usually given to drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, it is an offense that can be given to any driver who is under the influence of any drug, including but not limited to prescription drugs, legal and illicit drugs.

Drivers Testing Positive for Marijuana Use


There’s a significant increase in the number of drugged drivers on our roads, particularly with the increase of prescription painkillers dispensed and the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. Despite the possible positive effects these various drugs are having on people’s health and wellbeing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drugged driving is on the incline while drunk driving is on the decline; though both, particularly together, are still very risky and potentially fatal.


Recent studies show that 40% of fatally-injured drivers tested positive for drugs, which is about the same as the number of fatally-injured drivers who tested positive for alcohol. It is important to note, however, that drivers who test positive for THC (found in marijuana) may not be “high” at the time of the crash, unlike alcohol related crashes where drivers have a more accurate BAC. THC can stay in one’s system for hours, days, and even weeks.

Should Marijuana and Alcohol Be Treated Differently?


Many people feel strongly about how marijuana use should be charged, others are on the fence. Given that marijuana and alcohol have the ability to impair one’s ability to drive it is important to come up with appropriate offenses, but since both can affect drivers so differently they shouldn’t necessarily have the same testing or offenses. The statistics surrounding drivers who test positive for marijuana, drug use, and alcohol aren’t completely clear, some of them are lumped together, making data less accurate.


Here are some recommendations how each state, whether a legal marijuana state or not, can make decisions about how to treat drugged driving or how to teach drivers of all ages about driving under the influence.


  • Planning: Current data should be assessed to understand what is happening now. Older data can be helpful, but it’s difficult to get a clear picture of what is happening if the data is not relevant.



  • Laws: Every law needs to be revisited and reexamined from time to time. For example, if a state that has recently legalized marijuana for medicinal use, that state will want to revisit their drugged driving laws and make sure it’s up to date (how they will incorporate medical marijuana).



  • Training and Testing: Law enforcement, particularly those responsible for patrolling the roads and pulling people over, should be trained in what drug impairment looks like and even smells like. Focusing on the differences between alcohol impairment and marijuana impairment. Additionally, all fatally-injured drivers should be tested for the presence of drugs and the crash data should be tracked separately from alcohol.


Common Summer Time Injuries

summer injuriesThe summer is often full of relaxation for many people, but it’s also a time when the majority of injuries and accidents occur. To stay protected, educate yourself about the common summer injuries and how you can play a role in preventing them. Before losing all your worries in summer bliss, take a few precautions to ensure that the good times will keep on rolling without any major incidents spoiling your fun.

 Slip and Falls

Slip and falls are some of the leading reasons for emergency room visits every single year. They are a major cause of accidental injuries and death for both the home and the work environment. Slip and falls can happen on any surface or at any time of year, so it’s important to always be aware of the risk these injuries represent. Summertime is a time for fun in the sun, as well as for cooling off by the pool. Spills and wet surfaces, such as the deck of a pool, can be extremely dangerous for both children and adults during the summer. Those enjoying the summer on a boat or yacht should also inform all passengers about safety procedures and how to reduce accidents while on the watercraft. Particularly when summer thunderclouds bring torrential rain, accident and personal injury can be imminent disasters. Awareness and precaution can go a long way in reducing these accidents.

 Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Especially if you are working in an outdoor environment, heat stroke is much more common than you think. It’s very important to stay hydrated during the hot summer months in order to reduce the likelihood of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Try to limit physical activities to early mornings or late evenings when the temperatures are cooler, always drink plenty of water to stay fully hydrated, and wear loose fitting clothing to reduce the impacts of heat exhaustion. Keep an eye on children to see if they are showing signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion, and make sure that all parties are properly protected with sunblock throughout the course of a hot day.

 Bites From Insects

Since many people tend to spend the majority of their summertime outdoors, there’s an increased exposure to all outside elements, including bugs. Insect bites are some of the most common injuries associated with summer for both children and adults. Besides using insect repellent, it can help to wear long sleeved clothing if you know you’ll be in an area where insects run rampant. Be aware of poisonous insects that are prevalent in your area, and always keep a watchful eye. If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately, even if the bite seems minor at first glance. Insect bites can be deadly if left untreated.

 Auto Accidents

Summer is the ideal season for everyone who owns a motorcycle. Motorcycles are always associated with an increased risk for accidents; this danger is especially enhanced by increase traffic during holidays such as Memorial Day through Labor Day. More pedestrians and bicyclists are also enjoying the summer weather, so drivers should be aware of these additional modes of transportation. Make sure to keep a watchful eye for pedestrians and cyclists, and remember it is a social responsibility to share the road. Drivers should always remain aware of their own surroundings and proceed at a safe speed. It also helps to be able to identify reckless driving behavior in others, and report it to the authorities to get these drivers off the road. It is easy to get carried away in the summer fun and have one too many cocktails. This can endanger your life and the lives of others around you. Always make responsible decisions in regards to drinking and driving. Automobile accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death.

Make the most of your summer by staying safe.As the cliche saying goes: “Hair gets lighter, Skin gets darker, Water gets warmer, Drinks get colder, Music gets louder, Nights get longer, Life gets better-IT’S SUMMER!”