Pot's legalization and the impact on car crash rates

A recent study, conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute, suggests that states that have legalized the possession of marijuana for recreational use may be more vulnerable to higher car crash claims than those that have not. They note that states like Washington, Colorado and Oregon have seen a nearly three percent increase in crashes annually since marijuana first started being sold legally in these states between 2014 and 2015.

One of the resachers, who spearheaded the insurance watchdog group's study, contends that he has a reason to believe there is a direct correlation between marijuana's legalization and a higher incidence rate of car crashes.

He notes that he and his researchers made every effort to control for factors such as a traffic, weather, as well as a driver's gender, employment status and age to see if legal pot really had an impact. Even then, they noted that accidents were higher in states that had previously legalized marijuana sales.

The watchdog group, however, warns that marijuana use shouldn't be described as a definitive contributor to the increase in car crashes. Government agencies and private entities will conduct their own research and either corroborate or dispel their findings.

If these preliminary findings are ultimately corroborated, it's likely that impairment from marijuana will join other concerns as one of the leading contributors to car crashes. Currently, reckless operation of vehicles in construction zones, cellphone use, and texting and driving put drivers at most risk for car crashes. Only time will tell if marijuana impairment appears to be as big of an issue as drunk driving has become.

If you suspect that the serious injuries you suffered in your car crash were caused by a driver under the influence of marijuana, a Vista, California, attorney can provide advice in your legal case.

Source: U.S. News, "Insurance study ties legal pot to boost in car crash claims," Solomon Banda, accessed Sep. 22, 2017

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