Those in Illinois and elsewhere around the country probably are aware that it is dangerous and illegal to drive while under the effect of marijuana. However, a new poll shows that most Americans believe that driving while high is less dangerous than texting while driving.
According to the survey, which was conducted by Harris Poll for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, 91 percent of Americans believed that driving after having used marijuana is hazardous. However, only 40 percent of respondents thought pot use contributed to traffic accidents. In comparison, 98 percent of those surveyed thought that texting while driving makes U.S. roads more dangerous.
One reason Americans may doubt the dangers of marijuana impairment could be that researchers have yet to definitively link its use with a spike in traffic accidents. However, some safety advocates note that the crash risk has increased in some states that have approved the use of recreational marijuana. Medical experts state that marijuana use can cause delayed reaction times and dizziness, and these side effects could inhibit a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Around 40,000 people died in car accidents in 2016, which represented a 6 percent jump over 2015. Many of these victims died as a result of impaired driving or texting and driving. Families that have lost a loved one in a car crash that was caused by a negligent driver have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against that driver in court. Possible damages awarded from such a suit include funeral and burial expenses, loss of income and loss of companionship. People who are injured in a crash caused by an impaired or distracted driver could file a personal injury lawsuit to recover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.