It is legal for adults 21 and older to use and possess (up to 1 ounce) marijuana in Boulder, but it is illegal and dangerous to drive high. Law enforcement observes behavior to detect whether a driver who has been pulled over is likely too high to drive. If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident caused by an impaired driver, you may be able to pursue compensation with the help of attorney Chris Jeffress.
Colorado Law Related to Driving High
It is dangerous to drive with any amount of marijuana in your system. But according to Colorado law, it is illegal to drive with a whole blood concentration of five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These drivers can be charged with DUI; however, unlike alcohol, there is no breathalyzer or other device police officers can use to test marijuana in the blood when someone is pulled over. Law enforcement in our state is trained to observe the signs of marijuana impairment, which may lead to arrest. Medical marijuana will not change the scenario of an arrest.
Accidents in Colorado Related to Marijuana
Late last year, legislation was enacted requiring arresting officers to report the specific drugs involved in the DUI arrest. So, for the first time in our State, a report must be made identifying whether marijuana, alcohol, pharmaceuticals or some other drug was involved in a DUI arrest. This is great news for coming years, because the State will have more data to better understand the prevalence of marijuana-related accidents. There are current statistics as well:
- 77 crash fatalities in Colorado in 2016 involved drivers impaired by THC
- 50 percent of users report driving high in the last 30 days
- In 2016, more than 17 percent of DUI arrests by the Colorado State Patrol involved marijuana
- 55 percent of respondents to a CDOT survey said they thought it was safe to drive under the influence of marijuana
*These statistics come from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Effects of Marijuana on Driving Ability
With more than half of respondents to a CDOT survey saying it is safe to drive under the influence of marijuana, there seems to be a lack of clarity regarding the drug's effects. Any substance that leads to impairment, which would include marijuana, affects driving. For marijuana specifically, here are the potential hazards related to driving:
- Slows the time it takes to react
- Impairs cognition, including reasoning and judgement
- Impairs decision-making abilities
- Interferes with ability to stay in one lane and track within the lane
- Makes it difficult to divide attention between all aspects of driving and challenges on the road
Even for a motorist who feels like they are fine driving high, there are dangerous physiological and cognitive effects that may feel muted to the user. Driving requires full attention and concentration. Impairment not only causes crashes under normal conditions, but certainly when something sudden and unexpected – like brake lights seemingly out of nowhere – occurs.
Have You Been Injured by an Impaired Driver?
As a Colorado motorist, you have a reasonable expectation that other people you share the road with aren't driving high, drunk or otherwise impaired. Unfortunately, we all know this is not always the case. If a driver under the influence of marijuana, alcohol or another drug caused the accident that injured you, then Boulder crash attorney Chris Jeffress wants to hear about it. During a free case evaluation, you and he can discuss the details of your claim and determine your options for pursuing maximum compensation. Our law firm proudly serves the surrounding Front Range areas, including Longmont and Broomfield. Please call us today at 303-993-8685.