Will Legalization of Marijuana Affect The Rate of Car Accidents In Ontario?

At this point in time there is no clear “yes” or “no” answer to the question in the title. The experts offer differing views, with respect to what could happen if utilization of marijuana were legalized.

Some experts focus on the possible side effects, the ones that would be demonstrated by drivers that had used marijuana.

• Fatigue or drowsiness
• Slower reactions
• Trouble concentrating
• Impaired memory
• Anxiety or panic
• Decreased blood pressure

There are problems anticipated, in view of the known side effects. Some of these are:

• Increased blood pressure which can cause fainting
• Trouble concentrating can make it hard for the driver to pay attention to his or her surroundings; a driver that is not paying attention might hit a pedestrian.
• Slower reactions can decrease the chances that a given accident might be avoided. After all, swift actions help drivers to avoid collisions.
• Impaired memory could make it harder for a driver to remember the rules of the road. Drivers cannot obey the rules of the road, if those same drivers cannot recall such rules.

Findings of concern to the experts:

Data collected shows a 6% increase in motor vehicle accidents within those states that have chosen to legalize marijuana. Injury Lawyers in Brantford are of the view that such evidence suggests that Ontario should give serious thought to legislating and enforcing those measures that could work to prevent such an increase in auto accidents.

What measures could be put in place in Ontario?

Such measures would relate to the stipulations in car insurance policies. Someone that has been charged once with driving after using marijuana could get hit with a higher premium. Someone that has been charged with that crime twice might have to deal with tighter restrictions, regarding where the policy would be in-force. Eventually, someone that keeps using marijuana might get denied the right to purchase any car insurance policy.

At the same time, there would need to be a greater effort by those that taught driving skills to teens. Teenagers would benefit from learning all about the dangers of using marijuana before sitting behind the wheel. The new program ought to copy the efforts that have been made currently, in order to keep teens from drinking and driving.

Perhaps all teens could be restricted to driving during hours of daylight, when they first got their license. Later, those that had never been charged with driving after using marijuana might get those restrictions lifted earlier.

Voters should be reminded that the existing laws prohibit the awarding of benefits for pain and suffering. Yet a move to legalize marijuana would increase the chances that drivers and passengers might have to endure added pain and suffering. Measures should be put in place to keep that from happening.

Perhaps the voters would feel ready to suggest certain measures. Maybe some voters would even volunteer to help with educating teenagers. Such actions would make it easier to deal with the issues that have become linked to the legalization of marijuana within any community.