Although West Virginia has not enacted legislation to permit the legal use of marijuana for medical or recreational reasons, the state could encounter instances in which motorists involved in accidents test positive for THC. This is particularly important because some of West Virginia’s bordering states have approved medical marijuana. THC metabolites could stay in a driver’s system for extended periods after marijuana use, which could cause positive tests for someone who is not impaired.
The U.S. Department of Transporation is expected to continue with its ban of the use of marijuana by truck drivers because of the drug’s Schedule I listing. Legal use of a drug does not imply the ability to safely use it while driving, and trucking oversight must continue to address sensitive safety issues because of the dangers posed by an unsafe rig or driver. Federal trucking regulations related to drug testing are expected to continue, which means that the legalization of pot will not significantly affect the trucking industry in the near future.
Standards and driving restrictions related to the amount of THC in an individual’s system are still vague, especially since marijuana has only been approved for recreational use in a handful of states. Still, those states represent approximately one-fourth of the United States population, meaning that the issue of testing will continue to be a significant concern. Additionally, the testing for marijuana use through blood draws may need to be replaced with methods that can better evaluate impairment.
Trucking regulations range from mandatory drug testing to required rest periods to ensure that truckers provide safer service as they carry goods across the country. An accident involving a semi can be catastrophic for occupants of other vehicles, especially in cases involving impaired or fatigued driving. A trucking company that fails to carefully monitor its employees for compliance could face serious losses through personal injury lawsuits after accidents caused by one of its drivers.