Crashes on the up in U.S. states with legalized marijuana

Crashes on the up in U.S. states with legalized marijuana

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.




2 Comments

  1. Acute cannabis consumption and motor vehicle collision risk
    “There is no evidence that consumption of cannabis alone increases the risk of culpability for traffic crash fatalities or injuries for which hospitalization occurs, and may reduce those risks.”
    REFERENCE: British Medical Journal, 1999; M. Bates and T. Blakely

  2. Throughout our nation all automobile accidents with fatalities require full spectrum blood toxicology by law for all drivers involved. This toxicology testing reveals all the intoxicants in the drivers blood stream such as alcohol, pharmaceutical drugs and cannabis. The toxicology data is kept and compiled by police agencies who publish the results in an effort to promote public safety.

    According to police data automobile drivers intoxicated on alcohol are on average directly responsible for over 16,000 traffic fatalities per year in the United States.

    According to police data automobile drivers intoxicated on pharmaceutical drugs are on average directly responsible for over 5,000 traffic fatalities per year in the United States.

    Data on fatal accidents caused by cannabis intoxication is extremely rare by comparison to prescription drugs and alcohol. I have searched thoroughly and can’t find one single police agency in the United States that even keeps a statistical database on traffic fatalities caused “solely” by cannabis intoxication. In a search of news articles published over the last 5 years I have found 3 cases where cannabis intoxication has been cited as the direct sole cause of a fatal accident.

    According to data acquired through news articles automobile drivers intoxicated on cannabis are on average directly responsible for 0.6 traffic fatalities per year in the United States.

    By comparison of police and available data on alcohol, prescription drugs and cannabis, which is safer??

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