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Marijuana remains a factor in many fatal motor vehicle accidents

Even though many crashes were attributed to drugs prior to the legalization of marijuana here in Colorado, the number seems to have risen. State law indicates that anything over 5 nanograms of THC (marijuana's psychoactive component) per milliliter of blood constitutes driving under the influence of drugs. Even so, many people continue to drive with this level or higher of marijuana in their systems, and it appears to be contributing to the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents occurring in the state.

For instance, authorities here in Colorado say that on Dec. 14, 2017, a man lost control of his vehicle and careened into the opposing lane of travel on U.S. Highway 160. His vehicle then slammed into not just one, but two other vehicles heading in the opposite direction of his pickup truck. The wrong-way driver died as a result of his injuries. 

The two passengers in his pickup truck, including a 1-year-old infant, suffered injuries that required them to be transferred from a Pagosa Springs hospital to one in Denver. The other two drivers involved in the crash also suffered serious injuries. At last report, each of the survivors continued to recover from their respective injuries.

Police say that the road was ice-covered, but it was a combination of driving too fast for conditions and the 9.2 nanograms per milliliter of THC found in the deceased driver's blood that heavily contributed to the crash. In fatal motor vehicle accidents in which the apparently responsible party dies, victims may still file claims against his or her estate. The information gathered by police may prove critical in proving negligence on the part of that driver in any personal injury claims arising out of this tragedy.

Source: pinerivertimes.com, "Driver in fatal crash near Pagosa Springs tests above limit for marijuana", Jonathan Romeo, Jan. 10, 2018

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