There’s been a spike in deadly car crashes in Colorado; is weed legalization the cause of increased traffic fatalities? Recent reports from a variety of sources say that the rate of fatal car crashes in the state has spiked since 2013, a year after cannabis was legalized for recreational use. What can we make of this statistic?
Deadly Car Crashes
Reports from the Colorado Department of Transportation say that the number of drivers involved in deadly car crashes who have tested positive for cannabis has more than doubled since 2013.
In addition to this, the number of DUI arrests involving weed use, or suspected weed use, has increased in the past few years.
The published reports and articles about this are alarming. But do they actually reflect the statistics?
Is weed legalization the cause of increased traffic fatalities? It doesn’t look like it. Take the year 2015 as an example. That year, there were 547 traffic fatalities in Colorado. 187 drivers involved in those accidents had alcohol in their system. In comparison, 99 drivers tested positive for cannabis. 35 tested positive for both alcohol and weed.
Driving Under The Influence
It’s never a smart idea to drive when you’re under the influence of anything. Since some of the drivers of these recent car wrecks tested positive for cannabis, which is legal in the state, it might seem like weed is the cause.
It’s certainly an easy target for the blame. But is weed legalization the cause of increased traffic fatalities? While the drivers tested positive for THC, it’s basically impossible to determine if they were actually high while they were driving. Weed stays in your system long after your high has ended. For the drivers who tested positive for both weed and alcohol, the booze might have caused the accident. Not the weed.
There are a lot of things we need to consider before we jump to conclusions. The most pressing thing is the fact that there isn’t currently a way of testing for cannabis intoxication. Just because someone has weed in their system, it doesn’t mean that they’re high. Even AAA has confirmed that THC in the blood does not have a negative impact on one’s driving ability.
Furthermore, studies show that the impact that cannabis has on driving has been grossly exaggerated in previous studies.
Final Hit: Is Weed Legalization The Cause of Increased Traffic Fatalities?
The fact of the matter is that there simply isn’t enough research to determine whether or not cannabis is a causing factor in car accidents. When it comes to vehicular safety, though, there is information we can use to make good decisions.We know that driving under the influence of alcohol is a terrible idea. We also know that alcohol affects the human mind and body differently than weed does. Still, we have to acknowledge that, although driving while stoned may not be as devastating as driving while drunk, it may not be a great idea for a lot of people. Put your safety first and exercise good decision making before getting behind the wheel!