Crash claims up 2.7 percent in first states to legalize pot

by Joy Montgomery June 24, 2017, 0:48
Crash claims up 2.7 percent in first states to legalize pot

In another study published on Wednesday, the Highway Loss Data Institute analyzed the frequency of auto insurance collision claims in Washington, Colorado and OR, where recreational marijuana is also permitted.

Analysis of insurance claims revealed that states experienced a combined 2.7 percent increase in collision claims when recreational marijuana hit the open market, compared to other nearby states, according to the HDLI. Collision claims have increased as a result, according to a vehicle insurance-related non-profit.

"One of the claims was that if you legalize marijuana, you're going to have a whole population of drugged drivers out there and have more traffic deaths", Aydelotte said.

"Studies on the effects of legalizing marijuana for medical use have also been inconclusive", said the HLDI.

Fatal accident rates have fallen significantly over the past two decades - during the same time that a majority of USA states have legalized marijuana for either medical or social use. Note a 2014 analysis by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, an anti-pot law enforcement group, which claimed that marijuana-impaired driving fatalities rose 100 percent in five years - an assertion ripped by critics because the study wasn't scientific, as even the RMHIDTA acknowledged.

"More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes", the study said.

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According to a separate individual analysis, OR has the lowest increase in claims compared to neighboring states. The study also didn't record the fatality rates in states where marijuana is legal.

The study did not say if the increase in collisions in the three states were directly caused by high drivers. Legal recreational pot sales in Colorado commenced in January 2014, while Washington and OR followed suit. "We see strong evidence of an increase crash risk in states that have approved recreational marijuana sales". But when it comes to driving safety, a new study poses doobie-ous ramifications.

The study found that there had been a 16 percent increase in collisions in Colorado, a 6.2 percent increase in Washington and a 4.5 percent increase in Oregon. The team reported its study results in today's (June 22) issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Marijuana is still an illegal controlled substance under federal law.

Zuby added that the findings on cases in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado should provide other states "eyeing legalization pause".

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