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Recreational marijuana and traffic fatality rates

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2021 | Auto Accidents

Many states, including Colorado, have legalized the use of recreational marijuana during the past few years. This legalization has given government regulators ample opportunity to learn more about the impact that marijuana use has on crash rates.

While some studies have suggested that the legalization of the drug has contributed to an increase in accidents, other data shows that it’s had little impact on crash rates.

The impact of marijuana’s legalization on Colorado’s crash rates

A review of accidents from soon after Colorado made recreational marijuana use lawful shows that there was an increase in crash fatalities. The crash rate equates to two additional deaths for every billion miles that motorists drove that year.

How recreational marijuana’s legalization impacted crash statistics in Washington

Another study conducted soon after the legalization of medical marijuana in Washington showed little to no increase in fatalities.

What should someone conclude about marijuana’s legalization and crash rates?

There’s a lot of confusion about whether there is a direct correlation between marijuana use and an uptick in accident rates. Marijuana often remains in a person’s body for an extensive period of time. Someone may have taken marijuana days before only to have it detected in their system when police officers perform a blood draw following a crash.

Research is still inconclusive as to whether individuals’ marijuana use increases or decreases their use of other drugs and alcohol. This makes it challenging for regulators to gain a clear perspective as to how much marijuana contributes to a crash, especially if other substances and factors are involved.

There are some instances in which evidence of marijuana use isn’t so uncertain. Motorists impaired by marijuana can be as dangerous as fatigued, drunk or distracted drivers.

You’ve likely heard news stories about how such impairment causes catastrophic injuries. You may want to review your rights if a car accident leaves you hurt. This information may give you some insight about how to move forward.