- “More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes,” the study said
( CBS ) Does driving while high have any impact on auto accident rates? Legalized recreational marijuana use in Colorado, Oregon and Washington correlates to about a 3 percent increase in auto collision claim frequencies compared to states without such legislation, according to a new Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) study. It’s the first one the group has conducted since the drug went on sale legally.
“More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes,” the study said.
The HLDI is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit research organization that usually focuses on figuring out which cars are safest. The group is funded by auto insurance companies, which have a vested interest in not having to pay claims and — of course — hold a bias against impaired driving of any kind.
According to the HLDI, past researchers haven’t been able to “definitively connect marijuana use with real-world crashes,” and even a federal study failed to find such a link. “Studies on the effects of legalizing marijuana for medical use have also been inconclusive,” said the HLDI.
Instead, the group focused on three states — Colorado, where legal marijuana retail sales, as well as Oregon and Washington, where sales began in 2015 — and compared them to the collision claims in neighboring states such as Nevada and Utah, parts of which now allow only medical marijuana. It also factored in statistics regarding the three states where recreational use is now legal from before it became available to the general public.
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