Will Legalizing Marijuana Increase Pedestrian Accidents in Georgia?
The Georgia Legislature is considering whether they should legalize marijuana. Several states have already "legalized" marijuana to a certain extent. One of the questions that the Georgia legislature must consider during their discussions on the topic is whether permitting personal use of marijuana will create a dangerous situation on Georgia's roads. The preliminary findings of a study of pedestrian accidents conducted by the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggest that the states which have legalized marijuana have experienced a tremendous increase in pedestrian fatalities in car accidents while those states without legalized marijuana laws saw a decrease in pedestrian accidents. No matter what political stance you take on the subject, everyone should agree that the findings made by the GHSA deserve consideration.
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Findings Made by the GHSA
The GHSA released its latest report regarding fatal pedestrian accidents on February 28, 2018. The report paints a grim picture about the dangers pedestrians face on our roads. Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2017. That toll is the highest in 25 years. The GHSA acknowledges that distracted walking and distracted driving significantly contribute to the problem. However, the GHSA also took note of an anomaly in the data produced by the eight jurisdictions that legalized marijuana use as of the end of 2017.
The statistics from the seven states which have some form of legalized marijuana use, Massachusetts, Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, along with the District of Columbia, have a greater incidence of pedestrian fatalities than states that continue to criminalize marijuana. The jurisdictions with marijuana decriminalization laws experienced fewer pedestrian fatalities. The legalized marijuana states and D.C. saw their pedestrian fatalities rise 16.4% in 2017 contrasted with the others that observed a 5.8% decrease.
Although the findings reached by the GHSA are preliminary and further study is needed to solidify any connection between legalized marijuana and pedestrian fatalities, the numbers should not be ignored. Marijuana use, along with other factors like alcohol consumption and distracted driving, create a tremendous problem on the roads. Like alcohol, marijuana use can slow reaction times and impair judgment when behind the wheel, according to the GHSA. Therefore, the safety of Georgia's pedestrians must be taken into consideration by the state legislature when debating proposals to decriminalize marijuana.
Victims injured by drunk or otherwise intoxicated drivers normally can pursue a claim against the at-fault drivers in order to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, Pain and Suffering and even punitive damages.
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If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact Montlick & Associates today for your free consultation with our experienced Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers in Georgia. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 36 years, 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.
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