Cannabis legalization could result in more vehicle crashes

Cannabis legalization could result in more vehicle crashes

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute announced Thursday that crashes in states with legalized recreational marijuana have increased up to 6 percent.

Vehicle crashes are up in states that have legalized marijuana, according to two new studies released Thursday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute.

The combined-state analysis is based on collision loss data from January 2012 to October 2017.

While correlation does not equal causation, the study is worth keeping in mind as more states move to decriminalize and regulate the sale of recreational pot, which remains very much illegal at the federal level. The HLDI says its analysts "controlled for differences in the rated driver population, insured vehicle fleet, mix of urban versus rural exposure, unemployment, weather and seasonality". THC can remain in a person's bloodstream for weeks after using.

But Harkey admitted that the role that marijuana plays in crashes is much more hard to determine than that of alcohol. "We're seeing a trend in the wrong direction".

David Harkey, president of IIHS-HLDI, told Automotive News his team has been looking at the issue of marijuana use and crash risk since states started considering the legalization of recreational marijuana a few years ago. Compared to some neighboring states that have not legalized marijuana for recreational use.

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The studies do, however, mention that the role of cannabis in these accidents isn't clear as drivers who test positive for drugs are often found with alcohol in their system as well.

Vehicle crashes have risen in states that have legalized marijuana, according to new reports.

The study found that collision claims rose six percent in the four states since they began allowing retails sales of marijuana.

The study also did not include the District of Columbia and the five other states where recreational cannabis is legal: Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Recreational use legislation is pending in New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. MI and North Dakota will have referendums in November. Missouri and Utah could expand medical marijuana, also in November.

Canada became the largest country to legalize weed earlier this week, but the decision could have serious consequences in terms of safety. It's still up to individual provinces to decide age limits and how much people can buy and where.

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