Legal marijuana could be increasing pedestrian deaths
Have you ever stopped to consider the best ways to reduce the threat of pedestrians being hit by vehicles? The answers are obvious, when pedestrians and vehicle drivers are more attentive and follow the law, fewer accidents – and fewer deaths – will occur. The problem is that more pedestrians than ever are dying on America’s roads. The year 2016 saw the highest number of pedestrian deaths in over three decades.
These sad and sobering statistics certainly leaves one to wonder: Are fewer drivers following the law and are fewer drivers paying attention? Why has there been such an increase in pedestrian deaths in recent years when so many efforts have been made to make roads safer for pedestrians, to enforce the law and to create stricter legal standards and liability for drivers who hurt people on foot?
Some experts believe that the reason is simple and we can easily see it by looking at pedestrian death statistics in the areas of the country that have decriminalized the use of recreational marijuana. During the first half of 2017 alone, these states – Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C. – have experienced a 16.4 percent increase in pedestrian deaths. Add to this the fact that the legalization of marijuana in these areas has led to an increased use of the drug throughout America and the pedestrian death increase seems to make sense.
There is also the continued use of smartphones while driving in the face of strict laws that make such violations a serious crime. Finally, there is the fact a better economy is bringing more cars on the road. One can imagine that more cars, more drivers who are inattentive and more intoxicated drivers can mean only one thing: more accidents.
One of the best ways to fight back is to hold negligent and unlawful drivers liable for their actions in court. If your loved was killed by such a driver, make sure to learn as much as you can about your legal rights and options.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Pedestrian Deaths Near 6,000 for Second Straight Year, Report Says,” Scott Calvert, Feb. 28, 2018