Marijuana and Vehicle Accidents
Everyone knows about the dangers of drunk driving, but operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana can be just as hazardous. Driving while impaired by any substance, including marijuana, is illegal in Texas.
However, unlike alcohol, there are no standardized tests for driving under the influence of marijuana.
Determining Marijuana Use
Drunk driving tests are only marginally successful in establishing impairment due to the use of cannabis. Blood and urine tests can still detect marijuana for several weeks following substance use, unlike the tests for alcohol and many other drugs. These factors make it particularly challenging to establish that marijuana was consumed within just a few hours of driving.
Instead, law enforcement generally relies upon field sobriety tests to determine impairment. These tests may include:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This test is typically performed by moving an object from side to side in front of a suspect’s face. The officer is looking for an involuntary jerking of the eye caused by substance use.
- Walk and turn test. This test splits a suspect’s attention between physical and mental activities. The officer provides instructions to walk in a straight line, and watches to determine if there's a loss of balance or inability to stay on the line.
- One leg stand test. This is another divided attention test, during which the officer requires a suspect to raise his foot, stand still, count, and look down. The officer watches for telltale signs of impairment, such as swaying or hopping.
If you were injured in a vehicle accident with a driver suspected of driving while impaired by marijuana, you need representation by an experienced vehicle accident attorney. Your lawyer will investigate and gather evidence to demonstrate the driver who caused your collision is guilty of gross negligence due to driving under the influence of cannabis.
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