Study: States with legal marijuana linked to rise in car crashes

News

A new study shows states that have legalized recreational marijuana have seen an increase in car crashes.

This new data comes just weeks before Michigan (and North Dakota) are set to vote to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at police reports and insurance claims in Colorado, Washington and Oregon and found since legalizing recreational marijuana, crashes spiked as much as 6% compared to neighboring states.

But cannabis attorney Sarah Gersten pointed to a 2017 study, that found no increase in fatal crashes after legalization. 

She says legal weed, means fewer drunk drivers on the road.

“We’re seeing a move to using cannabis, which compared to those other substances is much less impairing,” Gersten.

This month, the National Traffic Safety Board announced a wreck in Texas that killed 13 people last year, was caused by a driver under the influence of marijuana and prescription drugs.

The NTSB warned, “the rising tide of drug-impaired driving did not begin with this driver, and it will not end with him.”

There is no nationwide legal limit for THC and breathalyzers to test for it are just now being developed. Marijuana activists argue legalization would speed up that process.

The NTSB and the IIHS say law enforcement needs better tools and training to deal with drivers under the influence of marijuana.

The IIHS also conducted roadside surveys and found while drunk drivers are usually just out on the roads at night people are more apt to drive under the influence of marijuana at all hours of the day.

They’re also more likely to have a child in the car with them than drunk drivers.

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...