At the moment, eight US states including the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana. More than thirty states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use. Research carried between 2007 to 2014 by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that 12.6 percent of drivers tested positive for marijuana usage. As the number of states that legalize marijuana either for recreational or medicinal purposes, the number of drivers using the pot is increasing. Studies that have been done to establish the link between marijuana use by drivers and road crashes have yielded mixed results. Whereas some indicate that impairment by marijuana causes accident, some differ by saying that marijuana use does not lead to road traffic accidents. This article looks at some of the reports done and their conclusion as regards the link between marijuana use and road traffic accident.
- Traffic Safety Facts-In their 2015 study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), established that road traffic accident increases by 1.25 times if you drive under the influence of marijuana.
- Research by insurance institute for highway safety-This research which was carried out between Jan 2012 and Oct. 2016. Its aim was to do a comparative study to determine whether there is a link in increased accident in states that have legalized marijuana and those that haven?t. The conclusion from their findings is that the states that had legalized marijuana had claims that were 3 percent higher than states that had not legalized pot in the period under review.
The IIHS concluded that states that had legalized marijuana experienced an increase of road traffic accident then states that haven?t.
- Columbia university (Mailman School of Public Health)– The main findings from this study was that marijuana dispensary use by drivers increases road crashes. The researchers relied on the statistics from over 23,000 drivers who died within an hour of a vehicle accident from the year 1999 2010.
- The US Department of Transportation– This was a simulation study. Their study concluded that whereby marijuana?s impairment is occasional, alcohol has a consistent impairment. Through the simulation, it was found that speeding and accidents increased when one is under the influence of alcohol compared to when one has taken marijuana.
- THC Levels– the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established that using marijuana will increase chances of an accident by intoxicated driver. If these drivers use alcohol in addition to marijuana, they get highly impaired and chances of causing a fatal accident increase. The NHTSA report has indicated that there is an increase of the number of drivers who are using marijuana. It indicates that one in every four drivers tested has THC in their system.
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