Study ties legal pot to rise in car crash claims

The Highway Loss Data Institute, a leading insurance research group, said in a study released Thursday that collision claims in Colorado, Washington and OR increased 2.7 percent in the years since legal marijuana sales began, compared with surrounding states without recreational marijuana laws. Data from Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska (the first 4 states to legalize marijuana) show that traffic fatality rates have remained statistically unchanged post-legalization.

"No single study is ever definitive", he said. A urine test, the current measure of whether a driver may be impaired by marijuana, will detect THC, however there is now no scientific consensus on what level of THC constitutes impaired driving.

"As long as police officers (like the rest of us) hold implicit or explicit stereotypes associating minorities with crime, they will perceive minorities as more suspicious", Glaser wrote in an email. "There would be more rear-end collisions and people running off the road and those kinds of things".

More cases of automobile crashes have been reported among states where marijuana has been legalized, according to a first-of-a-kind study conducted by an insurance institute. Washington recorded a 6 percent higher rate than Montana and Idaho in terms of collision claims.

HLDI noted that that collision claims are the most frequent kind of claims insurers receive.

"It would appear, probably not to anyone's surprise, that the use of marijuana contributes to crashes", said Kenton Brine, president of the industry group Northwest Insurance Council that represents companies in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

The study released Thursday already has its critics.

Although the increasing number of auto accidents could not be directly linked to the use of marijuana, the study explained that there is a strong correlation between the two.

The researchers from the University of Texas at Austin drew on statistics of annual statewide motor vehicle crash fatalities.

Moore said the study is an important step toward equipping states with all the facts as they consider legalizing pot.

Colorado and Washington were compared against 12 of these states to arrive at the conclusion that marijuana legalization likely had an effect on search rates. However, researchers have been unable to definitively connect the use of marijuana and vehicle crashes. "Meanwhile, Oregon has had pot sales for the shortest amount of time, so its increase is the lowest, but that could change over time". The researcher in their study, considered factors like number of road vehicle and controlling the states, gender, and age of drivers, weather and ensuring driver with the claim are employed and comparing those factors with neighbouring states same fluctuations. Researches would focus on the effect of marijuana would have on a driver's ability on a closed course, not on the open road.

"You really have to look at carefully the data and what they are talking about".

Logic and common sense should not go up in smoke.

For more about marijuana-impaired driving, visit the U.S.

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