The push to legalize medical and recreational marijuana has led to an increase in drugged drivers. Research cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a 48-percent increase in weekend nighttime drivers over the age of 16 who were under the influence of marijuana.
TIME reported on a federal study into the effects of marijuana on driver performance. Researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse discovered that drivers with blood concentrations of 13.1 ug/L THC showed increased weaving that was comparable to those with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08. Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in all 50 states. A conviction could come with a fine, jail time, insurance premium increase and other consequences.
Read on to learn three reasons why driving under the influence of marijuana is a bad idea:
Marijuana Impairs Your Ability to Drive for Up to Three Hours
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, marijuana affects a driver’s ability to perform critical tasks for up to three hours after initial consumption. It can impair a driver’s ability to handle the vehicle, slow down his or her reaction time, and affect distance perception. Smoking marijuana before driving is particularly dangerous if you have already consumed alcohol. Unfortunately, marijuana is often consumed in the same settings as alcohol. Nearly 2 percent of drivers between the ages 21 and 25 have driven under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana in the past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Driving under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana is far more dangerous than consuming either on its own reports the NHTSA. Combining these two drugs causes both cognitive and psychomotor effects.
In Louisiana, Recreational Marijuana Usage is Illegal
Regardless of your personal views on marijuana, recreational use is illegal in Louisiana. You will face DWI charges if police catch you driving under the influence of marijuana. The penalties for DWI in Louisiana worsen with each subsequent offense. A first DWI is a misdemeanor. A conviction comes with a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, 32 hours of community service, a 90-day license suspension and substance abuse programs. A third DWI, however, is a felony. The fine increases to $2,000 and the maximum jail sentence jumps to five years.
If You Get Caught, Your Car Insurance Premium Will Increase
Driving under the influence of marijuana could hurt your wallet. In addition to paying an expensive fine, your car insurance premium will probably increase.
If you suffered an injury due to a drunk or drugged driver in Louisiana, contact Morris Bart, LLC. A Monroe accident attorney will evaluate your case to determine if you may be entitled to compensation. Call 800-537-8185 to schedule a free initial consultation.