Study: Deadly crashes increase significantly after a state legalizes marijuana

Posted at 1:57 AM, Jan 30, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A new study is raising concerns about driver safety and marijuana.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the percentage of drivers involved in a deadly crash who tested postive for marijuana increased significantly in states where it is legal for recreational use.

The study looked at a five year period before the state of Washington legalized marijuana, and a five year period following Washington state's pot legalization in December 2012.

Between 2008 and 2012 the percentage of drivers who tested positive for marijuana after being involved in a deadly crash was 8.8 percent, which increased to 18 percent between 2013 and 2017.

“This study enabled us to review a full 10-years’ worth of data about the potential impact of marijuana on driving safety – and it raises significant concerns,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Results from the analysis suggest that legalization of recreational use of marijuana may increase the rate of THC-positive drivers involved in fatal crashes.”

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in 11 states and the District of Columbia.