According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), marijuana use impairs the judgment, reaction time, and awareness of drivers. Unfortunately, the use of this drug also appears to be on the rise. The results from the recently released NHTSA study “Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers,” marijuana use by drivers has increased by nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2014. Victims of accidents involving large trucks may find that marijuana use by the truck driver is at least partially to be blame for the crash.
How Marijuana Use Potentially Impairs Truck Driving
While many states are currently legalizing the use of marijuana, both medicinally and in some cases recreationally, it is still considered illegal under federal law. Its use is not permitted for transportation workers, including truck drivers. The following is an overview as to why the use of this drug may lead to a higher likelihood of a truck accident:
- Studies have shown that marijuana use among truck drivers can cause slower reaction time when braking is needed.
- Canadian researchers report that smoking marijuana within three hours of driving nearly doubles the risk of a traffic accident.
- Studies have further shown that marijuana use can impair peripheral vision.
- Research published in Clinical Chemistry, the journal of the American Association of Clinical Chemists, states that marijuana is second only to alcohol use for causing impaired driving accidents.
- Marijuana has been shown to impair concentration.
- Over the long-term, marijuana use has been shown to cause paranoia, heart problems, breathing and respiratory issues. Each of these effects have been shown to cause sleep difficulty and fatigue, further increasing the risk of an accident.
- A 2010 study found that marijuana use was present in 12 percent of all traffic accidents.
If you suspect that marijuana use may have been a factor in a truck accident, it is important to take the proper steps after the crash. The truck driver may be liable for your losses, including lost income, medical bills, and property damage. Our free book, Don’t Wreck Your Injury Claim! 10 Rules of the Road to Win Your Accident Case in Missouri & Kansas!, provides helpful information about the actions that you should and should not take after an accident.