A 20-year-old Columbus, OH woman has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison for a hit-and-run accident that killed a 21-year-old father. Police suspected she was under the influence at the time of the crash but could not prove it because she had fled the scene. Although she denies drinking, 10 TV reports that she admitted that she was smoking marijuana that night. Unfortunately, like many people, this young woman likely viewed driving while stoned as a less dangerous action than driving while drunk.
The reality is, driving under the influence of marijuana is extremely dangerous, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse reporting that between four and fourteen percent of drivers injured or killed in traffic accidents test positive for THC. THC stands for delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, and is the active ingredient in marijuana.
Unfortunately, many college students underestimate just how dangerous it can be to get behind the wheel after they have consumed drugs. An experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Scott Elliot Smith, LPA can represent victims of student accidents and help them to take legal action against those responsible.
Stoned Driving is Dangerous Driving
THC is the second most common substance found in the blood of impaired drivers, behind alcohol. A study of more than 3,000 fatally injured drivers in Australia showed that the higher the concentration of THC in the driver’s blood, the greater the chance that he or she was responsible for causing the collision. Reports on seriously injured drivers admitted to one shock trauma center also showed that marijuana was present in blood tests 26.9 percent of the time.
When a person consumes products containing THC, he or she can experience impaired judgment and delayed reaction time. If the individual combines marijuana use with alcohol use, impairment increases even more significantly.
Despite the dangers, many college students seem to view driving under the influence of marijuana as a behavior that is less risky than drunk driving. A disturbing study from researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst reveals just how differently college students view driving under the influence of alcohol versus driving after using cannabis products.
Of the 338 freshman who responded to the survey, far more drank than used drugs. A total of 67 percent of male student and 64 percent of female students indicated to researchers that they had used alcohol within the 30 days before answering questions. By contrast, only 30 percent of the men and 13 percent of the women had used cannabis in any form. In addition, nine percent of female students and 23 percent of male students said they had consumed both cannabis products and alcohol in the month before taking the survey.
Although many more students drank than used marijuana, the reverse was true when students were asked about driving under the influence. Only seven percent of students admitted to drunk driving or operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol. By contrast, nine percent of women and 44 percent of men said that they had consumed THC and then gotten behind the wheel.
Students, especially men, are also much more likely to get into the car with someone else who is stoned. A total of 51 percent of men and 35 percent of women indicated that they had been in the car with someone who had used marijuana products driving.
A stoned driver puts himself and others in serious danger, and until college students take the risk seriously there are likely to be more student accidents and more young lives lost.
Contact our Columbus, OH accident lawyers today. Call 1-800-930-SCOTT or visit http://www.sestriallaw.com for a free case consultation.