April 20, the holiday set aside by marijuana users in Virginia and the rest of the nation to celebrate the drug, is associated with a slight increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents. This is according to a review of federal government data. While the study has not produced proof that marijuana was a factor in the crashes that occurred on April 20, marijuana is known to impair an individual's ability to drive, and other studies have shown that a large number of motorists who use the drug believe that it is safe to drive after doing so.
Researchers examined data pertaining to fatal accidents that occurred from 1992 through 2016. The number of driver deaths on that date was compared to the number of driver deaths for the week prior and the week after throughout the study period. The data indicated that the number of deaths rose slightly in the majority of states, resulting in an overall rise in risk of 12 percent. According the study's lead author, this means that an additional 142 driver deaths were associated with the holiday.
For the majority of accidents that were evaluated, there were no police information regarding drug testing. As a result, the involvement of marijuana cannot be confirmed. However, the researchers believe that the drug had a contributing role in some of the crashes.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that marijuana can weaken one's ability to drive. It also notes that associating marijuana with motor vehicle crashes can be difficult because the users often use the drug while consuming alcohol. Regardless, people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by drivers who were impaired by drugs or alcohol often require extensive medical care. They might want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for their losses.