Study suggests link between legal weed and spike in vehicle accidents

The group, known for publishing insurance loss statistics, says it has found a link between legalized pot and a surge in auto accidents.

A new study found that states with legalized recreational use of marijuana have an increase in accident insurance claims.

Researchers compared collision records in Colorado, Oregon and Washington from before and after recreational pot was legalized, as well as with neighboring states without recreational marijuana.

After retail marijuana sales began in Colorado, the increase in collision claim frequency was 14 percent higher than in nearby Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming.

Now, the study didn't indicate that drivers under the influence of marijuana directly caused the increase.

Federal law prohibits recreational use of marijuana in the country, however, it has been approved by eight states including Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Nevada and the District of Columbia.

"It would appear, probably not to anyone's surprise, that the use of marijuana contributes to crashes".

According to the study, more drivers admit to using marijuana before getting behind the wheel and it's showing up more frequently amongst people involved in crashes.

Here is the takeaway after all the eye-catching headlines: What we do know is that road safety has remained stable in states that have legalized marijuana.

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"We'll continue to monitor these states and add additional states to the analysis".

The enactment of statewide laws regulating the adult use and sale of cannabis is not associated with subsequent changes in traffic fatality rates, according to an analysis of traffic safety data published today in the American Journal of Public Health.

It found a 3 percent increase in collision claims in those states compared with Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada, where it is not legal.

According to the group's statistics, crash rates have spiked in Colorado, Washington and OR by 16 percent, 6.2 percent, and 4.5 percent, respectively. The republican says he will appoint a commission to study a legalized system.

This number came from comparing the three weed-friendly states with the control group.

"The combined effect for the three states was smaller but still significant at 3 percent", Moore said.

"Our study focused on deaths and actually found what we expected going into this", Jason Adedoyte, a trauma surgeon and lead author of the study, told Reuters. Alabama, Kentucky and Texas were among the states in the comparison group.

"Worry that legalized marijuana is increasing crash rates isn't misplaced", says David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer. But based on the data the HLDI crunched, perhaps it's best if drivers in Colorado, Washington and OR started walking and biking a bit more.

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