Although most Americans do not see it as a holiday despite it being around for about a generation, many people will observe April 20 as High Day by ingesting marijuana. Young people in particular tend to use this drug with greater frequency around April 20.
Recreational marijuana remains illegal in both Missouri and Kansas, but this will not necessarily stop many people from observing April 20 anyway, especially given the relative popularity and growing social acceptance of the drug.
According to a study put together by a major medical journal, this celebration leads to an increased risk of deadly motor vehicle accidents due to impaired driving. The authors of the survey examined data from the past 25 years, that is, from when the celebration garnered popular attention, and determined that, on April 20, one has a 12% higher chance of being involved in a fatal accident on the road.
By way of comparison, this heightened risk is similar to what motorists experience on the day of the Super Bowl, a day that is known for parties in which people tend to engage in heavy drinking.
Other studies indicate that a person under the influence of marijuana is at an increased risk of causing a car accident. As is the case with many other drugs, a person on marijuana will have a slowed reaction time, meaning it will take longer for the driver to stop for emergencies.
Likewise, those under the influence may exhibit erratic driving behavior like wildly fluctuating speeds and unexpected lane movements.
The bottom line is that if a Kansas City resident was an accident victim around April 20, marijuana may be to blame. Victims should not hesitate to explore their legal options for pursuing negligence claims if it turns out the driver responsible for the accident was impaired at the time.