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Study: Crash Stats Worse in States Where Pot is Legal

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Jan. 22, 2019—According to a recent study, vehicle crashes are up 6 percent in four states that have legalized recreational marijuana compared with four neighboring states where the drug is restricted or illegal, reported The Washington Post.

The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), which say the crash data suggests that, as more states legalize recreational marijuana, more effort will be needed to determine how best to prevent impaired driving crashes.

The IIHS/HLDI study compared insurance claims for vehicle collisions in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, where recreational marijuana is legal, with Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming, where it’s not. Additionally, the study considered factors including driver age and employment status, seasonality, weather and location.

IIHS found that drivers are largely unaware of the risks of using marijuana while driving. Additionally, roadside surveys of drivers in Washington show that marijuana-impaired drivers are more likely to have children in the car and are more likely to be driving during the day than alcohol-impaired drivers, IIHS said.

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