Fatal Crashes Involving Pot Double in Washington State Since Legalization
According to a study commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Public Safety, marijuana related fatal accidents went from 8% in 2013, to over 17% in 2014 after recreational pot was legalized. The study showed drivers involved in fatal accidents who had recently used pot before driving.
In some cases, blood tests confirmed very high levels of THC, the active ingredient in pot. But in others, the levels were lower.
While the statistics are alarming, marijuana poses different challenges than alcohol. While it has been proven that marijuana can impair your motor skills and judgement, it's more difficult to pinpoint if marijuana was the culprit.
Some drivers in these accidents were obviously impaired, much like an alcohol drunk driver. Others were impaired a combination of drugs or alcohol, including pot. Currently, it takes much longer to administer blood tests, especially in the field, as opposed to Breathalyzer tests for booze. Also, AAA says studies show some people are far more impaired by THC than others. Someone with high levels might not be as bad off as someone who has lower levels, but experiences greater impairment.
However, AAA says the rising number does show a connection between increased marijuana use and driving, and that while specific pinpoint data is still being worked on, it reinforces that pot does impair your motor skills.
The National Cannabis Association criticized the AAA study, saying other studies show alcohol drunk drivers have a far greater risk driving than those who use pot. But they're missing the point, really. A person shouldn't drive at all, regardless of whether they've used alcohol, pot, or powerful prescription narcotics, until the effects of the substance wears off.
Their argument is rather ignorant, they're basically saying it's OK to smoke or use pot before driving because your chances of being impaired are far less than booze. So that makes it ok?
The bottom line is, pot-related fatal crashs