Higher traffic injury data spurs influenced drivers initiative
Though Illinois legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older, there are still many regulations and restrictions on it. Alongside alcohol, authorities must adapt to the potential risks of a new, legal drug affecting drivers.
According to Fox 32 in Chicago, a new study has law enforcement considering more traffic enforcement for distracted and influenced drivers.
State-to-state traffic data
The study recently compared data between states where pot is legal versus states where it is not. It found that injury crashes in legal states increased by 5.8% and highway fatalities rose by around 4.1%, comparatively.
The study does not point to cannabis as the direct cause. It mentions that other changes may affect crash risk as well.
A critic of the study pointed out that around 600,000 New Jersey residents used marijuana each month before Illinois legalized it.
Despite the precedence, Illinois State Police recently announced a period of traffic enforcement designed to look for drivers who seem distracted or under the influence.
Marijuana and traffic stops
As law enforcement is on the lookout for distracted driving, it is important for drivers stopped by them to understand their rights and the law’s limitations.
Illinois residents may possess up to 30 grams of marijuana on their person. Out-of-state visitors may possess half that.
As marijuana remains in the body for up to 30 days, it is difficult to say whether detecting it shortly after an accident is proof of influence.
For those facing allegations of driving under the influence of marijuana, it is important to remain calm, quiet and prepared to defend against said charges.