Crash data shows jump in three states
The legalizing of recreational marijuana use seems to be having a direct impact on road safety in those U.S. states.
Three states that have made the move to legalize the drug - Colorado, Oregon and Washington, have seen an average of around a 3% jump in car crashes compared to neighbouring states.
The crash statistics come from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).
Colorado saw the biggest estimated increase in claim frequency compared with its control states.
After retail marijuana sales began in Colorado, the increase in collision claim frequency was 14% higher than in nearby Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming.
Washington’s estimated increase in claim frequency was 6% higher than in Montana and Idaho, and Oregon’s estimated increase in claim frequency was 4% higher than in Idaho, Montana and Nevada.
“Worry that legalized marijuana is increasing crash rates isn’t misplaced,” says David Zuby, chief research officer of the IIHS.
“HLDI’s findings on the early experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause.”
The HLDI took into account a number of factors in determining the crash statistics, including historical data for the different states (from 1981).
Also factored in were issues that might have affected the number of vehicle movements, such as weather and unemployment rates.