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1 in 5 Fatal California Crashes Involved Drugged Drivers, Auto Club Says

One in five fatal crashes in California involved a driver who tested positive for drugs, making a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana here a troubling idea, the Auto Club reported this week.

“The problem extends beyond recreational marijuana and illegal drug usage — many prescription drugs can impair skills that are critical to driving,” said Kathy Sieck, senior vice president of public affairs for the Auto Club.

Roughly 20 percent of fatal crashes linked to drug-impaired driving is a crisis that should not be overlooked, agreed Attorney James Johnson, who represents clients families in wrongful death cases due to drugged drivers.

“An impaired person, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle where they are risking injuring or killed themselves or others,” said Johnson.

Proposition 64 would legalize recreational marijuana use for people who are at least 21 years old and this is likely to add to the number of impaired drivers on our roadways, the Auto Club said in a press release. The Golden State is one of five I’m the country this year that are considering legalization with a ballot proposal.

The Auto Club recently held its “Drugged Driving’’ themed summit at the Petersen Automotive Museum where experts discuss the effects of marijuana and other drugs on traffic safety.

Those behind the Prop 64 measure say it will provide $3 million annually to the California Highway Patrol. The funds would help develop updated DUI protocol to help officers determine whether someone is impaired.

There are serious concerns that legalization of marijuana may lead to an increase in fatalities here in California as was the case in Washington after that state legalized recreational pot, said Jake Nelson, director of AAA Traffic Safety, Advocacy and Research.

Those of us at Johnson Attorneys Group know there is nothing more devastating than losing a loved one in a traffic accident due to a negligent drugged driver. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in this type of collision, it’s important to take immediate steps to protect your legal rights. Contact one of our qualified personal injury attorneys at 800-235-6801 to request a free consultation.

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