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Wider Access to Marijuana and Alcohol Likely to Mean More DUI Fatalities

January 16, 2012

There has been a softening of laws and policies designed to prevent DUIs related to alcohol and marijuana, in terms of making them more available. As many as a third of all states currently permit the sale of medical marijuana.

California recently considered legalizing marijuana for recreational use as a method to increase tax revenues and cope with a struggling state economy. While the effort in California failed, other states are considering similar proposals, and there is significant movement to decriminalize marijuana.

Along with the increased access to marijuana, many businesses are experimenting with ways to increase revenue from alcohol sales. Fast food restaurants in a number of locations across the U.S. including Burger King and Sonic have started offering beer and wine with their fast food. The notion of chugging a beer with one’s burger at a fast food joint as one proceeds through a drive through seems like a DUI accident waiting to happen. Sonic is even more questionable as these restaurants are drive-in only and have no dining room. The bottom line is that the increasing availability of alcohol and marijuana may result in an increase in DUI-related fatalities.

The impact of the growth of medical marijuana has already had an impact on drug-related DUI car accidents. Greater than 10 million Americans say that they’ve operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of an illicit substance in the past year according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Over eight percent of all drivers in a recent assessment by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) were revealed to have been driving while high on marijuana. The expanded access to marijuana is also increasing marijuana-related fatal accidents. According to reports conducted by the California Highway Patrol, they have seen a 55 percent increase in drug-related DUI accidents during a ten year period.

While many laws and policies have been enacted to reduce DUI-related accidents in Georgia and throughout the U.S. The numbers remain staggering with over 10,000 lives claimed every year throughout the U.S. in DUI auto accidents. Drunk driving accidents still account for slightly under one-third of auto accident fatalities – approximately one every 50 minutes. While many policies have been enacted to reduce drunk driving accidents including graduated licensing programs, stiffer DUI penalties and similar measures, the practice of serving beer and alcohol at the drive-thru threatens to undermine these practices. While now there are only a handful of fast food chains testing this method of increasing revenue in a few states including Florida, Nevada, Kansas, Missouri and Washington, it is reasonable to assume that if the practice boosts sales it will expand.

Drivers impaired by alcohol and drugs like marijuana cause a disproportionate number of auto accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. The increased availability of marijuana and alcohol threatens to reverse advances made in reducing DUI-related accidents. If you or someone you love is injured in a Georgia auto accident with a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol, you may not only be entitled to compensatory damages for your injuries and loss of earnings, but also punitive damages to punish and discourage such dangerous driving practices.

The experienced Georgia DUI accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing victims of DUI accidents in the Atlanta metro area and throughout Georgia for over 37 years. We offer compassionate yet zealous representation to Georgia DUI-related accident victims as part of our commitment to our goal of being known as the best DUI accident attorneys in Georgia. Our Georgia DUI accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.