Legal Pot & Auto Crash Deaths — A Frightening Statistic


Charles Farmer is the vice president for research and statistical services at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). He says auto crashes and auto crash deaths are up in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

After the legalization of recreational marijuana the rate of auto crash injuries jumped by 6%. Fatalities rose 4%. There were no reported increases in these crashes in states that haven’t legalized pot recreationally.

“Marijuana, like alcohol and just about every other drug, changes how you feel and how you behave,” Farmer said. “That’s the purpose of a drug. And that changes how you drive. We all need to realize that driving after using marijuana is a bad idea.”

To silence critics, Farmer said these statistics are consistent with previous studies.

“It’s becoming more and more clear that the legalization of marijuana doesn’t come without cost,” he said. “But marijuana legalization is still a novelty, and there’s hope that these early trends can be turned around.”

Farmer and the IIHS researchers looked at statistics from five states that have legalized recreational marijuana for those 21 and over, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada and five states that have not, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The results are mixed.

After legalization — but before retail pot sales began — car crashes with injuries rose 7%. After sales began, the crash rate dropped just below 1% but the number of fatal crashes shot up 2%.

Crash rates in Colorado rose 18% after legalization and the start of retail sales. California saw a 6% jump but crashes in Nevada dropped 7%.

Fatal crashes — however — rose in Colorado by 1% and in Oregon by 4%. Washington saw a drop of 2%, fatalities fell in California by 8% and Nevada saw a 10% drop.

Farmer said drivers stoned on pot usually drive more slowly which makes a collision less deadly. Unfortunately, while not deadly, pot intoxication makes avoiding a collision harder.

Source link: Health Day

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