Illinois motorists may be interested to learn that the number of marijuana-positive drivers has increased while the number of alcohol-positive drivers has decreased. The findings were drawn from several studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Data regarding drivers' drug use was collected through oral fluid and blood samples. Based on the results, researchers found that, in the 2013-2014 period, 22 percent of daytime drivers and 23 percent of nighttime drivers were found to have drugs in their system. When just marijuana-positive drivers were analyzed, the numbers were found to be 9 percent of daytime drivers and 13 percent of nighttime drivers.
Alcohol and marijuana can have different effects on drivers. For example, people who are under the influence of alcohol often drive recklessly. Marijuana, on the other hand, can cause drivers to be unable to react quickly to situational changes. As such, driving with either alcohol or marijuana in the system is dangerous and could result in collisions.
Drivers who are found to have a blood alcohol content level that is higher than the legal limit or who are found to be driving with drugs in their system may be taken into custody and charged with DUI. The legal consequences for a DUI are numerous and can potentially include a jail sentence and a suspension of the accused person's driver's license. A criminal law attorney could work to negotiate an outcome that is as positive as possible for the accused person based on case circumstances. For example, if the person does not have any prior DUI convictions, the person could potentially reduce the legal consequences through a rehabilitation or education program.