Most Oregonians know by now that marijuana is allowed under the laws of this state. No matter how one feels about this issue, it is hard to deny that this change has made an impact on traffic safety, particularly with respect to car accidents related to drugged driving. Although the long-term effects of marijuana are debatable, most people acknowledge that it can impair a person’s driving ability, as can other drugs like alcohol.
Recent reports suggest that marijuana and other drug use is a continuing problem on the roads of both Oregon and the rest of the country. For instance, looking at the report itself, researchers found that over 1 in 5 drivers who agreed to take a voluntary test had drugs of some sort, including marijuana and opioids, in their systems.
By contrast, between 1 and 8 percent of drivers asked had some alcohol in their systems, depending on what time of day the drivers were being surveyed. Only a handful of these drivers, at the most 1.5 percent, were actually found to be over the legal limit of 0.08.
Granted, the mere fact that someone has a drug in their system does not mean that they are under the influence of that drug. Police are still trying to figure out whether and to what extent a person can be determined to be drugged while driving.
In any event, though, the report as a whole serves as an important reminder to Oregon residents that drugged driving, even if the drug is legal marijuana, is risky behavior. If a person chooses to engage in such behavior and causes an accident, they can be held financially accountable for the harm done.