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Marijuana enthusiasts have their own day to celebrate, which is April 20, or 4/20. Every year on this day, pot smokers light up at 4:20 to celebrate “high” holiday. Although it may sound like harmless enjoyment, there is a potential downside to the celebration. A new study finds that 4/20 brings with it the risk of increased fatal car crashes.

According to a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed data on fatal car crashes over a period of 25 years. The study showed that there was a 12% higher risk of deadly crashes on 4/20 between the hours of 4:20 p.m. and midnight compared to other dates. In the study, drivers under the age of 21 were shown to have over a 35% increased risk of fatal crashes on this date each year.

High Holiday and Legalized Marijuana

The study also found that states, where marijuana use on a recreational basis is legal, had a lower risk of fatal crashes on April 20 than other dates. The reason for this is most likely that there is already a higher consumption of marijuana in these states, so there wouldn’t necessarily be a spike on a certain day.

While this shows that legalized use of marijuana means that the specific date of April 20 won’t necessarily result in a higher number of crashes that day, it doesn’t mean that marijuana use isn’t having an impact on drivers or on traffic safety. The use of marijuana does have an impact on driving ability.

How Pot Impacts Drivers

Many casual marijuana users believe that marijuana has no effect on their ability to drive, but studies have shown that it does impair coordination and reaction time. Researchers have found a direct connection between impaired driving ability and the amount of THC in the blood, which is the mind-altering ingredient in pot.

The actual role played by the use of marijuana in car crashes isn’t always clear, because drivers who cause crashes while impaired are often also under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Another factor is that THC can still be detected in the blood for weeks after intoxication. Using alcohol or other substances with marijuana dramatically increases the risk of wrecks more than the use of either pot or alcohol by itself.

Legalized Marijuana Use in San Rafael

The pot celebration date of April 20th was popularized in 1991, and there are many events to celebrate the date and the substance across the country.  In San Rafael and other areas where marijuana use is legal, there may not be a significant spike in marijuana use or wrecks related to pot celebrations on this particular day, but driving while under the influence of marijuana can be dangerous at any time. Cannabis retailers are encouraged to remind people not to drive while under the influence.

It is hoped that the legalization of marijuana will encourage people to use the substance responsibly, and that means you should avoid driving while under the influence. Safe travel options include ridesharing, public transportation, and the use of designated drivers.

When an Accident Occurs

It’s important to remain vigilant and drive defensively out on the roads. It’s not always easy to tell if other drivers are under the influence of marijuana because the chemical THC remains in the bloodstream long after use. If you are in an accident caused by another driver and sustain an injury, Kuvara Law Firm can help. Fill out the form on this page and one of our attorneys will get in touch with you promptly.

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