Legal Doesn’t Mean Safe: Fatal Car Accidents Rise in States With Legal Marijuana

A recent article states that the AAA Safety foundation has noted that after Washington state legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, the number of fatal accidents involving drivers who’d recently used pot more than doubled between 2013 and 2014.

Because there’s currently no test that can be given to determine the exact amount of marijuana in an impaired driver’s bloodstream, the researchers are suggesting that additional training for law enforcement to recognize the signs of impairment due to marijuana use.

Impaired DrivingThe AAA foundation’s director of research, Jake Nelson, spoke about why testing drivers for the amount of marijuana in the bloodstream isn’t effective, “Biologically, cannabis and alcohol are very different. I think policymakers trying to do the right thing are trying to establish something like a .08 for cannabis, and there’s just not science to support it.”

According to the CDC, marijuana users are about 25% more likely to be in a car accident than others who did not use it, but factors such as age and gender may also play a role in increased accident risk.

Currently, there are about a dozen states that are considering legalizing marijuana.

  • Mick

    Watch out for people driving under the speed limit and being extra cautious…

    • Walking Taller

      I drive in the slower lane.☺️

      • Jane F

        This is why no one can merge on the highways these days. Everyone is as high as a kite.

        • Walking Taller

          Jane it’s time to get everyone up to speed.?

  • billy

    How many of those stoned people were also drunk?

  • Reality Check

    Did the number of fatalities go from 500 to 1,000, or 2 to 4? It makes a difference. Using “more than doubled” is a way of making something sound serious when the actual numbers don’t back it up. I suspect driving while “high” is a problem, but this article doesn’t provide the information needed.


    What was the average age?

  • Emperor Norton

    The majority of collisions also involved alcohol. Surprise!
    And since the only available tests simply show that someone HAS smoked within the last month, I am unsure how they are finding a causal link.

  • Left Unsaid

    Does correlation equal causation? No, it doesn’t.

  • M.J. Sweety

    Ooooh, scary legal marijuana. *eye roll* Of course, if a person has ingested marijuana and is impaired, they should not be driving. I bet the number of drivers who are impaired by alcohol is vastly larger than the number possibly impaired by marijuana. And marijuana has actual health benefits, unlike booze. But thanks for trying to scare people about legalized marijuana.

    • Pothole

      True that. Don’t see too many Ganja bars.

  • Harvey Manfrenjensenjen

    Interesting, considering that most of the people out there smoking pot and driving have already been doing it for years..

  • Angela R.

    All too often I see drivers smoking MJ while driving through traffic. The smell is unavoidable. So what to do about these less then smart vehicle operators?

    • Walking Taller

      Roll up your window.☺️?

      • Angela R.

        I would rather see them roll off a cliff.

    • Emperor Norton

      Vehicle Code 23222(b). Report it.

    • Frank Murphy

      Give em some incense?

  • Chris

    After a couple of drinks, 1 hit of pot will literally WRECK you

  • Jem Inie

    Its in the details kids…. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, of 592 drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013, 38 tested positive for cannabis. In the following year, of 619 deadly crashes, the number testing positive for cannabis jumped to 75. However, as Staci Hoff, Research Director for WTSC,explained:

    “Most of these drivers, these 75 drivers, also had alcohol or other drugs” in their systems. Over a five-year period, just 1.8 percent of fatal crashes involved drivers who tested positive only for cannabis.

    “So, in our study, we looked at all five years of date, 2010 to 2014,” Hoff continued, “and there were never 3,000 drivers involved in these fatal crashes during that time period. Only 56 of them had THC and only THC, nothing else.”

  • dollarbill

    the real story is how insurance companies wanna jack up the prices for states that legalize marijuana. I smell the propaganda. nice try. The company that does the study is probably paid by the insurance companies.

  • paul avery

    So the dui fatalities have doubled since 2013, and pot is the reason? Next article: Alcohol sales doubled since 2013, local population also on the rise. -Smoke responsibly.

  • Jane F

    That explains why fatalities ocurred in vehicles travelling at speeds under 15mph…..

  • Art Perez

    Potheads! What’s wrong with sobriety?

    • agnar150

      What’s wrong with fun?

  • Do marijuana but speed limit should be less.

  • agnar150

    What they don’t say if other substances are involved like alcohol.