Reading, PA- Last month Pennsylvania became the 24th state to make medical marijuana legal. Now just a couple of weeks later, a new study has emerged showing the number if fatal accidents involving marijuana doubled between 2013 and 2014.

The American Automobile Association came up with their findings by analyzing accident data from Washington State between 2010 and 2014. (Recreational marijuana became legal in 2012). After analyzing the data, researchers found that prior to legalization, roughly 8.3 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes had THC in their blood. After legalization, that number doubled, and 17 percent of motorists in deadly accidents tested positive for marijuana. That’s a dramatic increase fatal marijuana-related accidents, but in some cases pot was not the only drug. One of the important facts about this data, which is being omitted from most reports is the fact that at least two-thirds of the 17 percent of stoned drivers involved in fatal accidents also had alcohol in their system, according to Live Science. 

AAA says that one way to prevent fatal marijuana-related accidents is to improve detection in the field. The road safety agency says that current detection methods need to be improved because marijuana impairment is very hard to determine even with a blood test. They recommend police teach police how to recognize the signs of the marijuana impairment to keep intoxicated motorists off the road.

Now that marijuana is legal for medical use in Pennsylvania, police can expect an uptick of DUIs for cannabis. If you are charged with drugged driving, USAttorneys recommends you speak with a DUI lawyer in Reading, Pennsylvania to assist you with your defense.

If you are convicted of your first marijuana-related DUI in Pennsylvania, you face a minimum of 72 hours in jail with a maximum penalty of 90 days. You may also lose your license and be forced to pay costly fines. A conviction for a marijuana-related drugged driving will also show up on background checks that are visible to employers.

Pennsylvania is tough on drugged driving offenders, but with an effective defense, you can avoid a conviction. Fortunately, defense is easier to build since there is no illegal per se law in the state of Pennsylvania. The state must prove that you were impaired at the time of your arrest. Simply having pot in your system is not proof of impaired since it can stay in the body up to 30 days after it was consumed.

No one should drive while impaired by any drug, but you also don’t deserve to be convicted of a DUI if you weren’t actually impaired. USAttorneys urges you to contact one of our DUI lawyers in Pennsylvania to work on your defense and give you a better chance of avoiding conviction. Set up a consultation today and discuss the most effective defense strategy.