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Car accidents rise on annual cannabis holiday

Drivers in Iowa may be concerned about the dangers posed on the roadways by drunk and distracted drivers. While the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol are well-known, there are also dangers to using other kinds of drugs before getting behind the wheel. One study indicates that April 20, a self-declared holiday for marijuana users, is linked with a slight jump in fatal car crashes across the United States.

The study looked at 25 years of car accident data, specifically measuring the number of fatal crashes that took place on April 20. There is no indication as to the involvement of cannabis or driving under the influence in any of the crashes. However, it is known that driving while under the influence of marijuana can impair one's reaction time and ability to make fast emergency decisions. Nevertheless, many cannabis users do drive after using the substance. The study compared the number of driver deaths on April 20 with those one week before and one week after from the years 1992 through 2016.

In most states, deaths show a slight increase on that day, pointing to a 12 percent overall increase in risk or an additional 142 deaths linked to April 20. There has been additional discussion on driving under the influence as many more states across the country are legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational use. Other holidays that are known for alcohol consumption, like New Year's Eve and Super Bowl Sunday, have been linked to a spike in fatal car accidents.

Drunk driving or operating while intoxicated are treated as serious offenses in Iowa. A criminal defense attorney can help to represent people accused of these charges. A lawyer can mount a strong defense that challenges improper searches while working to protect a client's future and criminal record.

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