Impaired Driving Is Not Just About Drinking
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 16, 2014 – The term impaired driving does not just refer to driving while under the influence of alcohol.
“A recent study, released by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, indicates that the number of drivers under the influence of marijuana has jumped drastically since the drug was commercialized in that state in 2009. This problem could well be happening in Texas,” says Brooks Schuelke, a personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke LLP in Austin. The numbers used to conduct the Colorado study were taken from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for the period from 1994 to 2011. There are 21 states with medical marijuana laws, plus D.C. Texas is not one of those states.
Colorado’s information showed that at the beginning of their research, which included the first six-months of 1994, fatal car accidents with at least one driver under the influence of cannabis was 4.5 percent. By the end of their research timeline, the last six months of 2011, the percentage had skyrocketed to 10 percent. This study echoes another done in 2011 by Columbia University, authored by Dr. Guoha Li, a professor of epidemiology. This study examined nine other larger drugged driving studies.
“The result was that drivers who tested positive for cannabis within three hours of using were more than twice as likely to be in a collision. An added revelation was that the risk of a wreck was higher if the cannabis levels in the urine were higher,” adds Schuelke.
Over the last decade, many studies of this nature have been presented to the public without any compelling conclusive data that smoking up does increase the risk of a collision by two or three times. Chuck Farmer, the director of statistics at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that the vast majority of studies relating to marijuana use and driving do indicate it has a “very strong bad effect on driving.”
While it does appear that cannabis consumption may affect reaction time and a driver’s coordination, the jury is still out as to whether or not it may depend on the amount of the drug consumed and just how it was consumed. “Which may be a red herring,” suggests Schuelke, “as being impaired is being impaired in the eyes of the law. Whether that is alcohol or cannabis, if an accident happens because a driver chose to negligently consume a substance that impaired their ability to drive safely, they must still be held responsible for their actions.”
Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
View Larger Map
- What Is A Life Care Planner?
Many of our more serious cases require a life care planner. A life care planner is an expert witness, usually a doctor or nurse or combination of the two, who sets out the likely care that you’ll need for the rest of your life. It can include things such as surgeries, physical therapy, follow up [...]
- The Failure of Tort Reform
Steve Cohen has an interesting article, On Tort Reform, It’s Time To Declare Victory and Withdraw, detailing the failings of tort reform in the medical malpractice context. In his article, Steve outlines some of the things we’ve learned since tort reform started passing in waves, including in Texas: 1) Tort reform hasn’t decreased healthcare costs. [...]
- I’ve Been Injured In A Water Park Or An Amusement Park? Can I Sue Or Make A Claim?
It’s that time a year again. Almost like clockwork, as soon as school is out, I get inquiries from people like you asking whether you can make a claim against a water park or an amusement park after you get injured. And the answer is generally yes. If you’re injured at a water park or [...]