During the past couple years, a series of studies have been used, in order to obtain an answer to the question in the title. The first such study used simulators, which caused the user to feel as though he or she were actually sitting at the steering wheel in a motored vehicle. If a subject used cannabis, his or her psycho motor skills demonstrated a diminished level of performance.
Those studies were conducted in a lab. The investigators felt that more useful information could come from observational studies. Those called for collection of data on drivers that had been on the road, after smoking pot. Accidents that happen due to the driver’s state of mind can enhance the road accidents every year.
Results of the observational studies
These results were compared to results from similar studies, where some of the drivers had consumed alcohol. The collected data showed that only alcohol exhibits psychoactive effects on the brain with a greater frequency than marijuana.
Those effects persist for at least 2 hours. In other words, if a driver does not wait for 2 hours, after smoking pot, and gets on the road before completion of that span of time, the same driver has an increased chance for getting involved in an accident.
What the results mean for personal injury lawyers
If a client has been injured in an automobile accident, the client’s lawyer should check to see if the other driver was tested for the presence of marijuana. The mere presence of that substance in the driver’s blood stream could be used as evidence that the same driver might be held at least partially responsible for a given accident.
Such evidence would be most valuable, if the injury lawyer’s client in Chatham had been charged with distracted driving. The court would then need to weigh the significance of the distracted driving, as compared to the data collected on the effects of driving too soon, after using marijuana (smoking pot).
On the other hand, it would be difficult to defend a driver that had been in an accident, after having enjoyed the high created by marijuana. As marijuana becomes more accessible, any one driver might have been in multiple accidents, after having smoked some pot. The record of those past accidents would make it even harder to defend such a driver.
In Canada, the sale of recreational marijuana could lead to an increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents. If that proves to be the case, it might force a change in the practice of capping the amount paid for pain and suffering. Victims of a collision that was caused by a driver that had failed to wait 2 hours, after smoking some pot could cause those in the hit vehicle to deal with many days of pain and suffering.