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Posted in Car Accidents on February 10, 2023   |  by Gary Burger

Marijuana Impaired Driving in Missouri and Illinois

Marijuana Impaired Driving in Missouri and Illinois. With many states decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana, the use of marijuana and its contribution to crashes have been on the rise.While many people think driving under the effect of marijuana is not as serious as driving drunk, the legal consequences are the same in both Illinois and Missouri. As with a drunk driving accident, if you were injured because another driver drove while impaired by marijuana you can file a claim against them in civil court for your damages. Call the talented drugged driving accident lawyers at Burger Law at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

The Governors Highway Safety Association found that in 2016 44 percent of fatally-injured drivers were found to have at least one drug in their system, and 49 percent of fatally-injured drivers who tested positive for alcohol also tested positive for an additional drug. Missouri has a zero tolerance policy for drugs, meaning any amount of THC or other substance in a driver's system will result in a charge of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. In Illinois, any amount of substance is except the presence of THC below 5ng/ml.

The United States has what is called Implied Consent laws, which means that just by getting behind the wheel every driver has already agreed to take field sobriety tests and blood or urine tests to determine if there are any substances in their system. Refusing a sobriety test could imply guilt on the part of the driver and result in their license being suspended for up to a year.

Effects of Marijuana on the Driver

After alcohol, marijuana is the most common drug found in drivers' systems after a car crash. There are many ways that marijuana impairs driving ability:

  • It slows reaction time and your ability to make decisions
  • It impairs coordination
  • It distorts perceptions of speed and distance
  • It leads to memory loss and impaired problem-solving
  • The combination of alcohol and marijuana poses a greater risk than either by themselves

While we know that marijuana affects someone's ability to drive, we are still learning about their exact contribution to car crashes. Marijuana users about about 25% more likely to be involved in a crash as a driver, though other factors like age and gender may account for some of that percentage. There are five barriers that tend to obfuscate our understanding of exactly how marijuana contributes to car crashes:

  1. A roadside test for marijuana and other drugs, like a breathalyzer for alcohol, does not yet exist.
  2. Marijuana, especially for chronic users, can stay in a driver's system for days, weeks, or months after use, making it difficult to gauge how it affected someone's impairment. The amount of marijuana ingested also has a different effect on chronic, occasional, or first-time users.
  3. If a driver is above the legal blood alcohol content limit of .08%, police generally will not test for other drugs as they already have enough evidence for a conviction.
  4. Many drivers involved in crashes had more than one drug in their system, making it hard to know which drug contributed most to impairment.

Despite these difficulties, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that marijuana's effect on crash risk is generally an increase of 25 to 35 percent. The same study found that most marijuana users in Colorado and Washington state incorrectly believed that marijuana improves their driving.

Drugged Driving Accident Lawyers in Missouri and Illinois | Burger Law

While there may be ways for drugged drivers to escape convictions for marijuana in criminal court, you can still sue them in civil court with the help of a talented and experienced car accident lawyer in Missouri and Illinois. When someone else breaks the rules and injures you because of it, you deserve maximum compensation for all of your damages. If you were injured in an accident and know or suspect the other driver had been using marijuana, call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free case evaluation.