According to a recent study, states where recreational marijuana use is allowed are seeing an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities.
According to Charles Farmer, the lead researcher, these findings are in line with earlier research.
It is becoming more and more obvious that there are costs associated with making marijuana legal. However, as marijuana legalisation is still relatively new, there is still optimism that these early tendencies may change.
Farmer believes there are steps that may be taken to lessen the effects of driving under the influence of drugs.
“Marijuana, like alcohol and just about every other drug, changes how you feel and how you behave. That’s the purpose of a drug. And that changes how you drive. We all need to realize that driving after using marijuana is a bad idea,” said Farmer, vice president at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. His team found that after marijuana legalization, the rate of car crashes with injuries increased by nearly 6%, while fatal crashes rose by 4%. No increase in these crashes was seen in states that hadn’t legalized marijuana, the researchers noted.”
For the study, Farmer and his coworkers compared the five states- Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada- that had legalised recreational marijuana for those who were 21 years of age versus the states that had not-Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
They discovered that the rate of car accidents resulting in injuries increased by almost 7% after legalisation but before retail weed sales began. Less than 1% of crashes occurred after sales started, although fatal collisions increased by roughly 2% both before and after retail sales started.
According to the experts, drivers high on marijuana frequently move slowly. They might not be able to escape a collision, but Farmer pointed out that the impact might be less fatal due to their slower pace.
In earlier research, Farmer’s team discovered that marijuana usage has an impact on a person’s reaction time, road tracking, lane keeping, and attention, all of which can increase the likelihood of a collision.
The study was released in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs in July 2022.