Legalizing Pot Doesn't Raise Risk of Traffic Fatalities
Since recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington in 2012, car-crash fatality rates have not increased in those states, according to a new study.
Researchers compiled data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System between 2009 and 2015. They looked at traffic fatality statistics from Colorado and Washington and, for comparison, in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Although recreational marijuana use is not legal in these other states, they are comparable to Colorado and Washington in traffic and roadway characteristics, population, vehicle ownership rates, and traffic laws.
When researchers compared traffic death rates in the four years prior to the legalization of recreational marijuana to rates in the three years since the drug became legal, they found no significant difference in car crash fatality rates in Colorado and Washington compared to the control states. The results, which are adding more controversy to an already heated debate, confirm research conducted at Columbia University in New York and published earlier this year.