Study links legalized pot with increase in car crash claims

Posted June 26, 2017

The study found that states with legal marijuana had combined vehicle crash rates three percent higher than the states where the devil's lettuce was still illegal for recreational use.

The group used neighboring states - Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming to name a few - as controls with the states that legalized pot and did before-and-after comparisons. IIHS is a nonprofit research organization that is funded by auto insurance companies.

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.

Although the increasing number of vehicle accidents could not be directly linked to the use of marijuana, the study explained that there is a strong correlation between the two.

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Now, states have found it hard to determine how high is too high when around the steering wheel. After Colorado legalized retail marijuana, the uptick in collision-claim frequency was 14 percent higher than in adjacent Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming. Washington increased 6.2 percent compared to Idaho and Montana, and Oregon's claims increased by 4.5 percent compared to Idaho, Montana, and Nevada.

"The problem here is that it's a pretty new experience", said Carole Walker of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, according to IBT.

It bears mentioning that this only looks at crashes, not injuries or fatalities. Blacks and Hispanics are still searched at higher rates than whites.

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove.

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While the numbers are a safety concern, it may also have an impact on drivers' wallets in those states.

First, here's some friendly advice: If you've been consuming marijuana and feel even slightly impaired, give your keys to a friend or simply chill for another hour or so and see how you feel.

Another study released past year by AAA's safety foundation stated that legal THC limits established by states with legal marijuana have no scientific basis, and could result in innocent drivers being convicted while guilty drivers are released.

It's a "fool's errand" to attempt to conduct before-and-after analysis of legalization's effect, he said, noting that certain data were not being collected prior to legalization.

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This logic is something to consider when states consider or adopt legal marijuana laws.