Study shows correlation between legal pot and more vehicle crashes

Some studies have found that using the drug could more than double crash risk, while others, including a large-scale federal case-control study, have failed to find a link between marijuana use and crashes.

In Colorado, Oregon and Washington - three states with legal, recreational marijuana - collision claims are approximately 3 percent higher than they should have been without legal weed, according to the HLDI's analysis.

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, collision claims in Colorado, Washington, and OR went up 2.7 percent when compared with surrounding states where marijuana is not legal.

The result of this research shows a higher incidence of collision claims following legalization.

During the debate on whether or not to legalize marijuana, Aydelotte says people who were against it used the argument that there would be more drugged drivers causing deadly crashes on the roads.

The institute also looked at loss results for each state individually compared to loss results for adjacent states without legalized recreational marijuana use prior to November 2016.

Basically, it impacted drivers differently, but the takeaway was predictable: The more marijuana they smoked, the worse their driving became.

Moore of the Highway Loss Data Institute said they hope the study's findings will be considered by lawmakers and regulators in states where marijuana legalization is under consideration or recently enacted.

This week, two studies were released examining the effects of driving fatalities in states that have legalized marijuana.

However, the number of fatal vehicle accidents did not increase in these states, according to another study by the University of Texas in Austin.

A recent insurance study links increased vehicle crash claims to legalized recreational marijuana.

Griffin said the two studies show that more needs to be done to understand the potential effects of marijuana on driving ability. "It looks like there's no statistically significant difference before or after, or compared to control states that didn't have those laws passed". Results from the study are expected in 2020.

On average, the traffic-related death rate for those aged 15 to 44 dropped following the passage of medical marijuana laws. The agency says this is its first analysis of how legalized marijuana since 2014 affects accident claims.

The researchers pulled the data not just for Washington and Colorado, but also for eight other states - Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texasand Wisconsin - that could serve as comparisons.

  • Aubrey Nash