Car Crashes, Linked to Marijuana, Rises

Source: Paul A. Eisenstein, "Legalized marijuana linked to a sharp rise in car crashes," NBC News, 18 Oct 2018

  • "There has been an increase by up to 6 percent in the number of highway crashes in four of the states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, according to a pair of new studies."
  • ""... there is no easy way to test drivers to be sure if they are, in fact, under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, said David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Loss Data Institute."
  • "The studies looked at police reports and insurance claims, finding crashes rose between 5.2 percent and 6 percent in states with legalized recreational marijuana compared to neighboring states where such use remained illegal."
  • "While those under the influence of alcohol tend to either be driving alone or with other adults, about 14 percent of those confirmed to be using pot had a child in their vehicle. That reflects the fact, he added, that marijuana use isn't confined to evenings and other times when adults are more likely to drink — and abuse — alcohol."
  • "Police have a particularly difficult challenge because of the way marijuana works in the body. Blood alcohol levels provide a direct correlation showing how much a motorist has had to drink, with those levels dropping rapidly as someone sobers up. But while THC levels spike after smoking weed or eating a consumable, the psychoactive ingredient remains in the body for weeks, long after it has stopped having any impact."