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AAA: Fatal Crashes Doubled Since Washington Legalized Marijuana

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According to the latest research study provided by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, fatal accidents that involved drivers who were under the influence of pot has doubled since Washington state legalized marijuana.

Legalized Marijuana Impaired Driving Study

Washington was one of the first states to legalize marijuana for uses other than medicinal treatment in December of 2012. This raises some serious concerns for other states who are considering legalizing recreational weed this year. There are at least 20 states that are contemplating legalization in the U.S., but could this research change that?

One of the biggest issues with the high produced by marijuana is the affect that it has on the user can be difficult to measure, and therefore makes it difficult to know when the driver can and should operate heavy machinery, like a car. At this time, many officials say that anyone who has recently ingested marijuana should not drive.

“There is understandably a strong desire by both lawmakers and the public to create legal limits for marijuana impairment, in the same manner as we do with alcohol,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s President and CEO. “In the case of marijuana, this approach is flawed and not supported by scientific research. It’s simply not possible today to determine whether a driver is impaired based solely on the amount of the drug in their body.”

AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety research study found that:

  • The percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who recently used marijuana more than doubled from eight to 17 percent between 2013 and 2014.
  • One in six drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had recently used marijuana, which is the most recent data available.

States that have legalized recreational marijuana have implemented per se laws for the drug, but it is becoming clear that further research and news laws may need to be put into place in order to protect motorists. The Foundation will be releasing additional research studies later this year that will bring more focus to marijuana impaired driving statistics and data.

Related: Marijuana Legalization Laws

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Impaired driving accidents are 100% preventable. Do not drive under the influence of any drug. If you find that you keep getting behind the wheel impaired even when you don’t want to, you may have a substance abuse problem. Talk with a specialist today to learn how you can break the cycle.

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