More car accidents caused by motorists 'driving high' in Oklahoma

We have all heard of "flying high," a term used to describe a sense of elation or accomplishment. Now, the phrase "driving high" is also joining the common lexicon in Oklahoma, as cops say a growing number of drivers are smoking marijuana before getting behind the wheel. Statistics show that marijuana intoxication has become a significant issue in the state. In 2013, authorities identified 32 drivers in deadly or injurious car collisions that had positive blood tests for pot. So far, 17 people have been nabbed in 2014.

In Oklahoma, as in many other states, criminal defense attorneys are arguing that blood tests do not provide definitive proof of marijuana intoxication. In some cases, marijuana stays in the bloodstream long after the person has sobered up. However, police officers say they see plenty of acute intoxication cases, with some drivers even having the audacity to smoke marijuana as they are driving.

While attorneys debate the merits of the current testing methods for marijuana intoxication, officers are still arresting Oklahoma residents for driving while stoned. One officer recalls a traffic stop in which he observed clouds of smoke billowing from the other vehicle. That man said he asked the driver whether he had been smoking marijuana. The driver admitted that he had. That man was convicted of driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

No matter the intoxicant, it is irresponsible to get behind the wheel while in an altered state. Drivers who injure other motorists and passengers may be held liable for medical expenses, pain and suffering costs and a variety of other civil claims. An Oklahoma attorney may be able to help victims learn more about their legal and financial rights after a DUI car accident.

Source: The Oklahoman, "'Driving high' a cloudy issue" Robert Medley, Mar. 17, 2014

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