Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

Study links legalized pot with increase in car crash claims

Study links legalized pot with increase in car crash claims

As Gregor Bister of CNBC noted, "While Moore's research finds a greater crash risk, his study does not say if the increase in collisions in the three states were directly caused by drivers who were high".

That's what the Highway Loss Data Institute is investigating now that the number of collision claims has risen by between 4.5 and 16 percent in several states where weed has been made legal for recreational use.

But Washington and Colorado had similar rates of traffic fatalities as eight other states that haven't legalized recreational pot, an analysis of federal crash data published June 22 in the American Journal of Public Health found. However, a study published in April 2017 found that driving under the influence of drugs is more fatal than drunk driving.

Data collected by the Stanford Open Policing Project implies that not much has changed today. Is cannabis killing people on the the road or isn't it? The HLDI also analyzed information from control states, including Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, each of which has different levels of legalization between medical use and full prohibition.

OR had a 4 percent increase compared to Idaho, Montana and Nevada. Those states have seen a rise in vehicular accidents by almost 3 percent, and researchers from the Highway Loss Data Institute believe this has everything to do with marijuana than anything else.

In recent years, some states that legalized pot, such as Colorado, have launched extensive advertising campaigns warning of the dangers marijuana poses to kids and teenagers, and also the risks of driving while high.

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The institute compared collision claims before and after legalisation, with collision claim rates of comparable states where marijuana is still illegal, to determine whether collision rates are higher than they would be if recreational use was still illegal.

"It looks like, there's no difference", said Dr. Jayson Aydelotte, a trauma surgeon at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas.

Moore of the Highway Loss Data Institute said they hope the study's findings will be considered by lawmakers and regulators in states where marijuana legalization is under consideration or recently enacted.

Interestingly, statistics provided by the state of Colorado did not agree with the study.

A study released a year ago by AAA's safety foundation found legal THC limits established by states with legal marijuana have no scientific basis and can result in innocent drivers being convicted, and guilty drivers being released.

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