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Drugged Drivers are Deadly Drivers

Drugged drivers are deadly drivers and the number of auto accidents involving drivers under the influence is rising fast. From 2005 to 2015, total motor vehicle accident fatalities in Colorado declined by nearly 25%. However, over this same period the number of fatal accidents involving a drugged driver shot up 79%. In 2015, there were 450 motor vehicle accident fatalities recorded in Colorado. Of these, 59, or one in every nine, tested positive for marijuana.

Drugged driving is not a new problem. However, it is becoming more prevalent. In 2010, 66% of patients admitted into hospital trauma centers following an accident tested positive for either drugs or alcohol. That same year, 10.6% of drivers were estimated to have driven under the influence of cannabis.

Cannabis products, either smoked or ingested, affect the individual’s cognitive and psychomotor performance. In other words, they diminish the individual’s ability to process information and slow their ability to react to their environment. This means that drugged drivers may not see another vehicle or pedestrian in the roadway, and when they do, their reaction is going to be delayed. This delay is more than enough to cause a serious injury or wrongful death.

In Colorado, individuals who drive under the influence of cannabis are liable for the personal injuries, wrongful deaths, and property damage they cause. Even if the individual is under the five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol in their blood, they can be named as a defendant in an auto accident lawsuit.

One reason for the rising rates of drug involved accidents is that many drugged drivers ingest cannabinoids via edibles. This loosely regulated market means that many edibles are more potent than consumers realize. Individuals who smoke typically have THC concentrations that decline by 80% within 30 minutes of their last puff, and light effects that can last for up to 6 hours. By comparison, those who ingest edibles have maximum THC in the blood two to three hours after ingestion, with effects that can last up to 12 hours. Often, drugged drivers mistakenly believe they are safe to drive when in reality they are at their most impaired.

We invite you to contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144 to discuss your auto accident lawsuit. It is our pleasure to answer your questions and help you determine the best way to move forward with your claim.

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