A recent study conducted in states where toxicology screening is mandatory for accident victims indicates that 50 percent of fatal young adult car crashes involve pot or alcohol, sometime both, at the time of their accident.

Additionally, the wide-spread legalization of, and easy access to, marijuana doesn’t appear to be diminishing the use of alcohol. The study indicated that crash victims who were 21-years-old or older were more apt than their younger counter parts to have used marijuana in conjunction with alcohol consumption. This underlines the urgency to better comprehend the adverse health consequences of substance abuse and fatal car crashes.

Car accidents are the number one cause of death among 18-25 year olds in the United States, and impaired driving is a leading cause of those accidents. Among those states that regularly conduct toxicology tests on accident victims immediately following the crash, some frightening patterns have emerged- nearly 60 percent of the fatally injured drivers from this age group had some type of mind-altering substance, usually alcohol, in their bloodstream.

Researchers pulled data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System as reported by certain states that test a minimum of 85 percent of fatal accident victims- states such as West Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Illinois, Hawaii, California, and Connecticut. From this information, researchers concluded that 50.3 percent of drivers 16-25 years old who were killed in their crashes were either high, drunk, or both. The break down was as follows:

  • 36.8 percent tested positive for just alcohol
  • 5.9 percent tested positive for just marijuana
  • 7.6 percent tested positive for both

Subsequently, the researchers sought to deduce whether the youths were swapping use of one drug for the other- information that might indicate a need for policy changes. Examining the youth between the ages of 16 to 25, investigators were able to determine how drug use influenced crash fatalities for twenty-one year-olds, legal drinkers. It was discovered that at this age, accident victims were 14 percent more likely to only have alcohol in their system in addition to twenty-four percent less likely to have only marijuana in their systems.

However, they also determined that after age twenty-one, crash victims were 22 percent more likely to have both drugs in their systems then their younger counterparts. Therefore, researchers were able to deduce that the accessibility of alcohol has a negligible effect on their use of pot.

Furthermore, they concluded that while some might tend to switch from marijuana to alcohol at age twenty-one, those with a propensity for using multiple drugs will do so when they reach legal drinking age. In this situation, increased availability lends itself to an increased simultaneous use of both substances.

Contact a Denver Car Accident Lawyer

Denver Legal Expert, Robert B. PaysingerIf you or someone you love is injured in a car accident in Denver or anywhere in the State of Colorado, Denver car accident attorney Robert Paysinger can help. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with after an injury accident. As such, they often lowball accident victims and pressure them to settle for far less than they need to recover. Having an attorney on your side can increase your settlement by as much as 40%! Contact Denver attorney Robert Paysinger today to discuss your case. Our law firm offers FREE case consultations and can be reached at 303.279.0221.




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