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AAA: Fatal Crashes Doubled Since Washington Legalized Marijuana

Since the state of Washington approved legislation to legalize marijuana the state has seen marijuana related auto fatalities double according to research spearheaded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study implicates the drivers of these accidents as being impaired by the effects of marijuana.

Marijuana on our Roads
Washington was at the forefront of the progressive movement behind legalizing marijuana for recreational use as opposed to medicinal harkening all the way back to 2012. These most recent findings however place serious cause for concerns among states on the fences with regard to the legalization issue. So far as it stands there are 20 states contemplating becoming pro-marijuana and this new study should seriously be taken into account as a decisive factor. A very real point of contention amidst this debate for the pros and cons of marijuana usage is the variable nature of the drug and how it reacts differently depending on the person experimenting. One user may be able to drive and operate machinery perfectly fine, while another could be significantly incapacitated. The general consensus on both sides as it stands now is that nobody should get behind the wheel while under the effects of marijuana. “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 highlighted the following alarming statistics in their study:

 

  • 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.

 

It is clear that states which have implemented recreational marijuana are now seeing some of the fallout in terms of driver morbidity. It would be naive to think that a change as profound and radical as that would not have unintended negative consequences. The Foundation will be releasing several more addendum studies later this year which will continue to raise public and official awareness of marijuana related driving statistics and data.

Marijuana Abuse is Fixable
The moral of the story is marijuana and operating heavy machinery simply do not mix. Never get behind the wheel of any type of vehicle if you have ingested illegal, or even for that matter legal mind altering substances. If this is a problem that continues to persist despite your best efforts to control it than you may have a problem that needs immediate professional attention. Marijuana is a powerful drug despite its newly acquired social acceptance. Our support care specialists are available 24/7 day and night to talk and listen to your concerns.