Driving High: The Link Between Pot and Traffic Deaths


Is legalized marijuana having a negative an impact on traffic safety in the United States? Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, conducted a study to find out.

They analyzed the effects of recreational cannabis sales on traffic fatalities in three states where recreation pot is legal — Colorado, Washington, and Oregon — and surrounding areas. Compared to traffic fatality rates in states that hadn’t legalized marijuana, these states had one additional traffic fatality per month per million residents. But the increase was temporary, lasting about a year after legalization. In the areas studied, there were 170 more traffic fatalities in the first six months after the drug was legalized.

The Australian researchers noted a “spill-over” effect into nearby states, especially in large cities close to the border of a state with legalized marijuana. This suggests that people may be driving home under the influence from states where pot is legal. Thirty-three U.S. states and the District of Columbia have now passed legislation legalizing marijuana in some form for medicinal and/or recreational use.

Sourced from: Addiction