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Scene-Photos-102-199x300Driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous and potentially deadly. According to the 2018 Washington Traffic Safety Commission survey, “Marijuana Use, Alcohol Use, and Driving in Washington State,” driver impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs is the number one contributing factor in Washington State fatal crashes. Marijuana is second only behind alcohol to appear in drivers involved in accidents, and the number of drivers under the influence of marijuana is increasing each year. Many of these accidents occur on the busy Interstate 5, Interstate 90, and Interstate 405. According to the results of the Washington State Roadside Survey, nearly one in five daytime drivers may be under the influence of marijuana. This statistic is up from less than one in 10 drivers prior to the implementation of marijuana retail sales in Washington State in 2014.

The risk of impaired driving with alcohol in combination with marijuana is greater than the risk of driving under the influence of either substance by itself. From 2008–2016, 44 percent of fatal crashes involving drivers testing positive for substances were drivers that tested positive for both alcohol and one or more other drugs. The most common drug drivers combined with alcohol was marijuana. Deaths involving drivers with multiple substances in their systems have been increasing at a rate of about 15 percent per year since 2012.

Like driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal. Initiative 502, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana, included the establishment of a blood per se DUI level of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.

Construction workers in road/highway work zones are at a significant risk of fatal and nonfatal injury. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, in 2017, 132 construction workers died in work zone related accidents in the Unites States. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that in 2016 there were 158,000 non-fatal work zone injuries in the Unites States.

Construction workers are at an equal risk of injury and death both from passing motorists and from construction vehicles and equipment operating within the road/highway work zone. Furthermore, workers operating construction equipment in work zones are also at a risk of injury and death from the overturn of equipment, equipment collisions, or being caught in between equipment.

Both construction workers and passing motorists can take steps to ensure construction worker safety in road/highway work zones. Construction workers can take the following measures to reduce their risk of injury or death: 1) Use temporary traffic control devices and communicate clearly with motorists; 2) Illuminate the work zone during evening and night hours; 3) Wear high-visibility and reflective apparel to increase worker visibility; 4) Participate in safety training in order to be aware of common hazards and prevention measures.

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On November 12, Trina Morgan was killed as she attempted to assist a 9-year-old child who was injured in a motor vehicle collision on State Route 530 near Arlington, Washington.  According to the Washington State Patrol, Ms. Morgan was hit by another driver as she attempted to offer assistance to the injured child.  The driver that struck her was later processed by the Washington State Patrol on suspicion of driving under the influence.  Trina Morgan was pronounced dead at the scene by authorities due to her significant injuries.  The young girl was transported to the hospital for medical treatment for her injuries.

Our hearts go out to Trina Morgan’s family for her untimely death while trying to assist an injured child.  She is a true hero and an unnecessary death.  We all need to do more to prevent and report drunk drivers operating on our highways and roads.  If you see a driver that appears to be impaired, report it to 9-1-1 immediately.  Do not let friends or family drive if they are impaired.

Drunk driver is a major problem in the state of Washington.  Just in the last year, police agencies in the state of Washington have made over 24,000 arrests for driving under the influence on Washington’s highways and roads.  Impaired driving is a leading factor in motor vehicle accidents and deaths.  Last year, there were 146 deaths in motor vehicle collisions caused by drunk driving.