Oklahoma is now among the 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana, with rules approved by the state's Department of Health this summer.
Although there are no specified qualifying conditions for possession and personal use of legal medical marijuana, one aspect that has not changed is the fact that no one is allowed to drive impaired.
How prevalent are crashes caused by marijuana?
NewsOK reports that in 2017, approximately 179 people died in Oklahoma drug-related crashes, resulting in 2,669 injuries. Those figures have been rising over the course of the last five years, as crashes caused by drunk driving have been on the decline. In Oklahoma, the second-most common substance found in drivers, behind only alcohol, is marijuana.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, marijuana can have the same effect on drivers as alcohol. In general, drugged driving:
- Causes delays in reaction time and attention
- Hinders a driver's peripheral vision
- Affects a driver's judgment of distance and ability to stay in his or her lane
- Affects a driver's coordination and decision making
Additionally, the effects of marijuana can peak 10 to 30 minutes after taking it and impairment can last from 2 to 5 hours. Drugged driving has also increased 28 percent nationally over the last decade.
What to do if you're injured in a crash caused by an impaired driver
Crashes caused by impaired driving can be especially devastating since the drivers responsible for causing a crash often fail to take evasive measures. If a negligent driver was found to be under the influence of marijuana, there should be no question that his or her actions put your life in danger. Even then, the driver's insurance company will vigorously attempt to downplay your claim.
After an accident with an impaired driver, it's best to keep your comments to a minimum when reporting the accident to your insurance company. You should also seek immediate medical attention; even if your injuries seem minor, complications can arise days after the crash.
Most importantly, you will need an experienced Oklahoma auto accident attorney on your side who is knowledgeable on how to handle these types of cases. Contact Lawter & Associates, PLLC today and find out how we can help you.