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Study Shows States That Legalized Recreational Marijuana Saw More Car Crashes

In its report, the board says that there has been an increase in the number of drug-impaired drivers across the country and that something must be done about it.

That call to action seems to match up with a report released Thursday from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute.

Though a 2017 study found that the legalization of recreational weed has not increased the number of accidents involving fatalities, states that have legalized recreational use are seeing more car crashes overall, according to the report, which includes two studies presented Thursday at the Combating Alcohol- and Drug-Impaired Driving summit at the insurance institute’s Vehicle Research Center.

The first study found that crashes are up as much as 6% in Washington, Oregon and Colorado, compared with neighboring states that haven’t legalized recreational use of weed. Researchers estimated the frequency of collision claims per insured vehicle year, controlling for differences in other factors that could contribute to an accident, including age, location, job status and weather, and still saw an increase.

The second study looked at the number of police-reported accidents before and after the legalization of recreational use of weed. The findings were similar: a 5.2% increase in crash rates after legalization than before weed was legal in those states.

Other research has found that in a small sample of drivers who used weed before driving, they had slower thinking and perceptual skills. Drivers under the influence of weed tended to weave more when tested in simulators, studies show, although scientists say more research needs to be done to better understand the correlation between blood or oral fluid concentrations and psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

Driving while impaired by any substance, including marijuana, is illegal in all states.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By CNN Wire on CBS 2 Los Angeles

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Published: October 18, 2018

Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News

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