Driving While Stoned a 'Growing, Contributing Factor' in Fatal Crashes: AAA
Interested in finding out whether legalizing pot has had an impact of the frequency of fatal car crashes in Washington, where recreational marijuana use was legalized in 2012, the Automobile Association of American studied the state's crash data from 2010 to 2014. The study found that the percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had traces of marijuana in their blood has evidently doubled in that time.
"Marijuana use in driving is a growing, contributing factor to fatal crashes," said Jake Nelson, the AAA's director of traffic safety advocacy and research. "It's a highway safety problem that we should all be concerned about."
While Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon have all legalized the recreational use of marijuana in recent years, the use of medical marijuana is also now legal in close to half the states in the country. Road safety laws in regard to pot, however, are all over the map. For instance, while drivers found with more than 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC in their blood can be prosecuted for driving under the influence in Colorado and Washington, neither Oregon nor Alaska currently has a clearly defined legal THC limit.
Also, it's important to note that the AAA study does not claim to prove that marijuana was a key cause of the fatal crashes cited in its report, but according to Nelson, it's likely that marijuana was one contributing cause.