Study Refutes Claims High Drivers Are Sparking Uptick In Crashes

The study, published Thursday by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), says the frequency of automobile collision insurance claims has increased by 3 percent in states where marijuana is legal - Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

Mason Tvert, a marijuana legalization advocate and communications director with the Marijuana Policy Project, questioned the study's comparison of claims in rural states such as Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana with Colorado, Oregon and Washington that have dense population centers and how that affected the study's findings.

Colorado experienced a 14 percent increase in collision claims compared with nearby Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming.

A study published previous year in the same journal reported that the enactment of medical marijuana legalization laws is associated with a reduction in traffic fatalities compared to other states, particularly among younger drivers.

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M - Marijuana enthusiasts might fancy the grass a bit greener in states with legalized recreational use, a list that now includes eight states plus the District of Columbia. "Post-recreational marijuana legalization changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado also did not significantly differ from those for the control states".

The study states that legalized pot smoking actually leads to more collisions, and this is the first time a group has found a link between being high and impaired driving. Allowing for the total control group, "the combined effect for the three states was a smaller, but still significant at 3 percent", said HLDI Vice President Matt Moore.

Vehicle accidents are on the rise in legal states, and some data crunchers are pointing their fingers at recreational marijuana.

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

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"Colorado has had legal pot sales the longest and it is showing the greatest effect", Moore said, according to CNBC. OR voters approved legalized recreational marijuana in November 2014, and sales started in October 2015.

Washington saw a more than 6 percent increase, and OR had a more than 4.5 percent increase.

'Both those who used cannabis occasionally early in adolescence and those who started using it much later during the teenage years had a heightened risk of nicotine dependence, harmful drinking, and other illicit drug use. Those results are expected in 2020. "We see strong evidence of an increased crash risk in states that have approved recreational marijuana sales".

"The worst thing that could have happened to the state of Colorado was passing the marijuana law", Lonnie Britton said. The agency says this is its first analysis of how legalized marijuana since 2014 affects accident claims. But based on the data the HLDI crunched, perhaps it's best if drivers in Colorado, Washington and OR started walking and biking a bit more.

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