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Is legal marijuana making the roads more dangerous?

Drunk driving has been a major problem on the nation's highways for decades -- although there are signs that the message that drunk driving is dangerous is finally getting through to many. However, motorists may now have to contend with another problem that is distinctly related to the changing legal status of marijuana: drivers who are too stoned to be behind the wheel.

Researchers say that the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado is directly tied to the rising number of car accidents and injuries in the state. According to the latest studies, your odds of being in a car accident in Colorado have jumped 10% since marijuana became legal.

Research also notes that the number of hospitalizations for chronic pain have sharply fallen, which indicates that legalization of the drug isn't all bad -- it's just that some people don't know how to keep from ruining a good thing. Just like people who drink, people who use marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes have an obligation to themselves and others not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle until the effects of the drug have worn off. Those who don't wait, put everyone in danger.

If you're in a car accident, how can you tell if the other driver might be high on marijuana? The following signs are common:

  • A strong odor of marijuana coming from the driver's clothes or car.
  • The driver seems slow, lethargic or way too relaxed about the situation.
  • The driver has dilated pupils or red-rimmed, watery eyes.
  • The driver can't seem to focus or follow what you are saying.

If you notice any of these signs, let the responding officer know your suspicions, and he or she can take it from there.

Any car accident has the potential to change your life drastically. You may have the right to claim compensation for your injuries and losses, so find out more about your legal options as soon as possible.

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