Study indicates states with legalized marijuana have higher crash rates
19 October 2018 - Autoblog
This, right after recreational marijuana became legal in Canada this week
There's bad news today for states that legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The IIHS and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) announced that crashes in states with legalized recreational marijuana have increased by up to 6 percent.
This data comes from two separate studies the organizations performed. The first study looked into the frequency of collisions per insured vehicle and found a 6-percent increase following the start of retail marijuana sales in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington compared to its control states of Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. All the data came from a time period between 2012 and 2017.
In the second study, researchers analyzed police-reported crashes in a few legalized marijuana states, (Colorado, Oregon and Washington) and found a 5.2-percent increase in the rate of crashes per million vehicle registrations compared with neighboring states. These studies reportedly controlled for differences in demographics, unemployment and weather in each state.
"The new IIHS-HLDI research on marijuana and crashes indicates that legalizing marijuana for all uses is having a negative impact on the safety of our roads," IIHS-HLDI President David Harkey said about the study's results. "States exploring legalizing marijuana should consider this effect on highway safety."
The results of this study come only hours after Canada legalized recreational marijuana, becoming only the second national after Uruguay to do so. There are numerous campaigns taking place across the United States this election season to further legalize recreational use, too. It will be interesting to see what effect this latest study will have on the various referendums on state ballots. However, now is a good time to remind everybody that you should not be driving high. It's a dangerous combination similar to driving drunk, and this study suggests it could be leading to more accidents on our roads.