IIHS: States with legal marijuana have more vehicle crashes

Study finds possible link between legalized recreational pot use and risk of car crashes

Researchers said there was no significant change in the number of fatal vehicle crashes in the states where recreational marijuana use was legalized and the control states.

States with legalized marijuana have more auto crashes, according to a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"This report reveals the same concerning trend we've seen in reports from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the AAA Foundation, underscoring the increased risk associated with legalization", Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford, said. "If they're doing that but they're impaired, to me that would imply to me there would be more fender-benders".

The HLDA took a look at the three states that had legal, recreational weed prior to November 2016-Colorado, Washington, and Oregon-and compared them to neighboring states-specifically Nebraska, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and Montana-as a control group.

For example, crash reports in Colorado are 14 percent higher than in nearby states where marijuana remains illegal. Washington recorded a 6 percent higher rate than Montana and Idaho in terms of collision claims. "HLDI's findings on the early experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause".

Twenty-one states have comprehensive medical marijuana programs.

"The increased availability of marijuana may be reducing alcohol use in some states", said Santaella-Tenorio.

Investigators from the University of Texas-Austin evaluated crash fatality rates in Colorado and Washington pre- and post-legalization.

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Recreational marijuana laws have amounted to a "giant social experiment", Aydelotte said, and officials are now finding out how legal pot can affect public safety.

More cases of automobile crashes have been reported among states where marijuana has been legalized, according to a first-of-a-kind study conducted by an insurance institute. All three states have legalized recreational weed: Washington and Colorado in 2012, and OR in 2015.

Though there's evidence from simulator and on-road studies that marijuana can degrade some aspects of driving performance, researchers haven't been able to definitively connect marijuana use with more frequent real-world crashes. "Our study proved that isn't true".

The studies took distinct angles on marijuana and driving, and it's possible that fender benders in Colorado have gone up since pot was legalized even as fatalities stayed flat.

There could be a link between marijuana and auto wrecks - let us explain. "We have a lot more to learn".

"The combined effect for the three states was smaller but still significant at 3 percent", Moore said.

"Frankly, there may never be a.08 standard because of the way the drug works", Griffin said, referring to the standard blood alcohol level for drunk driving. He argued there was too much at stake in terms of marijuana's impact on public health and state finances. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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