Study Finds Link Between Legalized Marijuana, Increased Car Crash Rates

Adjust Comment Print

The study compared crash frequency before and after legalization and, using neighboring states as controls, found a almost 3% increase.

Their study sifted through years of insurance claims related to collisions and found that accidents rose 16 percent in Colorado, 6.2 percent in Washington state and 4.5 percent in OR after those states okayed recreational marijuana. "W$3 e also found no association between recreational marijuana legalization and total crash rates when analyzing available state-reported nonfatal crash statistics".

The study compared the frequency of collision claims from 2012 to 2016 with that of control states without recreational pot sales, including Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, as well as Colorado, Oregon and Washington prior to legalization.

As part of its research, the team pulled data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System that detailed the annual numbers of motor vehicle fatalities between 2009 and 2015. Insurance industry groups have been closely monitoring accident claims since 2013.

MA started allowing recreational marijuana use in the state at the beginning of the year. But is the growing trend of legalized marijuana to blame for a rise in vehicle crashes in some states?

"Using rural states like Wyoming and Idaho and Montana as controlled states doesn't really add up because they don't have a population center as dense as Portland, Seattle and Denver", recreational marijuana advocate Anthony Johnson said. "I have seen reports that report it as a marijuana incident even if the person that was not at fault was the one who tested positive for THC", said Laura Subin, Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.


Officials did not cite one specific cause for the increase in fatalities, noting contributing factors could include distracted and impaired driving, low seat belt use, and motorcyclists not wearing helmets or other protective gear. Many states have considered legalizing recreational marijuana because of public opinion and because of its possible revenue generation. Northampton police Captain John Cartledge told 22News, "Certainly it's much harder to test for marijuana or any other types of drugs without some sort of chemical test, especially roadside".

IIHS studied the frequency of collision claims - that is, claims of damage to the driver's vehicle, usually because of an accident the driver caused - in Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

"You really have to look at carefully the data and what they are talking about".

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk.

There could be a link between marijuana and auto wrecks - let us explain.

Comments