A bill filed recently in the Florida House proposes to impose DUI penalties for drivers or boaters with a certain amount of THC in their blood samples. According to the “Driving under the Influence of Drugs Act” (HB 237 -filed by state Rep. David Silvers, D-West Palm Beach), operating a boat with a threshold of 5 nanograms or more of THC per millilitre of blood constitutes DUI. It is the same as having a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more of alcohol. Euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, is the active chemical in marijuana. Under current Florida law, the driver of a car or boat found with a blood-alcohol content at or above .08 faces a fine between $500 and $1,000, along with a six-month jail term, on the first offense. There is no mention in Silvers’ measure — which doesn’t yet have a Senate companion — of how the blood test would be administered. The proposed bill comes after Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for patients with a broad swath of medical conditions. The amendment went into effect on Jan. 3.
What Jacksonville personal injury attorneys find questionable, is that currently there is no standardized way to measure how impaired a stoned person is—breathalyzers for weed don’t exist yet, and field sobriety tests don’t really work for marijuana.
AAA reports that there is a new study which suggests that the percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had traces of marijuana in their blood has doubled since marijuana was legalized in the state of Washington. A separate study suggests that the THC levels seen in many drivers who are impaired by the drug are higher than some of the legal limits that are in use for the level of THC. To better understand how legalization has affected driving, the AAA looked at crash data collected from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission for 30-day periods between 2010 and 2014. Recreational marijuana was legalized in Washington in 2012. The team found that prior to legalization, about 8.3 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes had THC in their blood, but after legalization, 17 percent of drivers had THC in their blood. Of that 17 percent, about two-thirds also had some other drugs or alcohol in their system. The total number of fatal crashes also went up slightly, the study found.
On the other hand, there are a few studies which suggest that driving while high may be safer than driving while drunk. A 2015 study in the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence found people who are high are less likely to weave out of their lane and speed than drunk drivers. Regardless, Jacksonville personal injury attorneys believe that Florida needs to implement laws to alleviate the risk of people driving under the influence of marijuana.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of being involved in an accident with an intoxicated driver, contact us at Edwards & Ragatz for a free consultation: (800)366-1609; locally – (904)399-1609; or through our website www.edwardsragatz.com.
Source: http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/house-bill-cracks-down-boating-driving-while-under-influence & http://floridapolitics.com/archives/230240-cannabis-dui-blood-test-bill-filed-florida-house & http://www.livescience.com/54693-high-drivers-double-after-marijuana-legalization.html