As Colorado auto deaths involving marijuana rise, CDOT is asking thousands how they feel about driving under pot’s influence
But testing methods and toxicology analysis hadn’t been consistent among coroners in the state, injecting some uncertainty into published statistics. CDOT’s Davis said starting in 2016, coroners and law enforcement officials began to coordinate more closely on measuring the presence of cannabis following a collision and specifically focusing on the Delta 9 component in a user’s blood.
My Turn: Legal marijuana in Arizona would mean more deaths, crashes
Also, this argument implies that people would switch from alcohol to marijuana because it is “safer.” That wasn’t the experience in Colorado, where alcohol DUI deaths remained relatively constant while marijuana DUI deaths rose 92 percent. And alcohol sales have gone up since legalization in Colorado, not down.
As car accident and motor vehicle collision lawyers, we know car accidents. For convenience, we poured through data from organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to form a comprehensive guide to statistics, facts, and other figures regarding car accidents across the United States.
Unpacking Pot’s Impact in Colorado
There is also no doubt that marijuana intoxication alone has played a direct role in some fatal crashes. The Rocky Mountain HIDTA 2015 report, for example, cites a November 2014 case in which a teenager driving under the influence of only marijuana hit and killed a 16-year-old high school student. In addition to testing positive for marijuana, the teenager also showed visible signs of intoxication, such as having trouble walking in a straight line and smelling like the drug. Passengers in the car also said the driver had smoked marijuana in the car prior to driving.
Colorado sees deadliest year of traffic fatalities since 2008
“Distracted driving is an epidemic,” Bhatt said. “We know that we need to be doing a lot of education with folks around not using their phones. Just like we needed time to develop alcohol strategies for education, there is some time that is needed to understand the role of technology and distracted driving.”
New Research Study Identifies Link between Legal Use of Marijuana and Fatal Car Accidents
A new research study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety identified that fatal crashes involving marijuana use increased by as much as twice after the legalization of marijuana in 2012. The organization identified 49 drivers involved in fatal car accidents and determined that they had marijuana in their system in 2013 at the time of the accidents. In 2014 however, there were 106 drivers involved in fatal car crashes. Even in locations where marijuana may be legally used for recreational purposes, individuals who are under the influence while operating a vehicle could cause serious wrecks and face major consequences.
“Saying marijuana…has never killed anyone is like saying tobacco has never killed anyone. Nobody dies from a tobacco overdose. You can’t smoke yourself to death. And yet nobody would dispute that tobacco causes death. … You die from lung cancer–you don’t die from smoking. You die from what smoking did to your lungs, which is a direct effect from smoking. And so in that same way marijuana does kill people in the form of mental illnesses and suicide, in the form of car crashes. … You can’t say marijuana doesn’t kill.”
Federal Study: Marijuana Doesn’t Pose Significant Risk in Car Accidents
The study showed that marijuana caused a minimal increase in the risk of causing a car accident, according to Car and Driver. Researchers worked around the clock comparing alcohol and drug data from those involved in accidents. Regardless of what combination of demographics were used, the NHTSA found there was no “significant increased risk of crash involvement” due to marijuana consumption.
Study: Fatal Car Crashes Involving Marijuana Have Tripled
In this article it does not state the fact that we can test positive for marijuana for up to 30 days, long after the “buzz” has worn off, so that’s a flaw in the study right off. It also doesn’t state whether those testing “positive” for marijuana also tested positive for other drugs such as alcohol or harder drugs like heroin, cocaine, opiods, etc. let’s be honest and compare apple with apples here. Many years ago when I smoked marijuana on some occassions and also drank alcohol I can attest that I drove much differently when under the influence of alcohol than marijuana. Under alcohol people tend to drive faster and more reckless and contrary to what this “study” states, people high on pot tend to drive like the first time, slowly and with extreme caution and that’s not just me but most everyone I knew, so pardon me if I think this “study” is a joke because it’s designed to oppose the legalization of marijuana and keep it a criminal offense to keep lining the pockets of the for profit private prisons and the pharma co’s.
Marijuana Raises Risk of Fatal Car Crash
The study also showed that drivers who tested positive for marijuana were more than three times as likely to be responsible for the fatal car crash. Researchers say the likelihood of being at fault increased as the blood concentration of marijuana increased.