Connecticut this week grew to become the most recent state to legalize leisure use of marijuana, and extra are anticipated to observe.
The elevated marijuana use that accompanies legalization has raised considerations about highway security.
Researchers at Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security (IIHS) and the Freeway Loss Information Institute (HLDI) since 2014 have been inspecting how legalization has affected crash charges and insurance coverage claims, and proof is rising that crash charges go up when states legalize leisure use and retail gross sales of marijuana.
The latest of those research, launched on June 17 by the IIHS, exhibits that harm and deadly crash charges in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington jumped within the months following leisure of marijuana legal guidelines in every state. The 5 states skilled a 6 p.c improve in harm crash charges and a 4 p.c improve in deadly crash charges, in contrast with different Western states the place leisure marijuana use was unlawful in the course of the research interval.
Solely the rise in harm crash charges was statistically vital.
“Our newest analysis makes it clear that legalizing marijuana for leisure use does improve total crash charges,” says IIHS-HLDI President David Harkey. “That’s clearly one thing policymakers and security professionals might want to tackle as extra states transfer to liberalize their legal guidelines — even when the best way marijuana impacts crash threat for particular person drivers stays unsure.”
Insurance coverage information present an analogous improve in claims underneath collision protection, which pays for injury to an at-fault, insured driver’s personal automobile, in line with HLDI’s newest evaluation. The legalization of retail gross sales in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington was related to a 4 p.c improve in collision declare frequency in contrast with the opposite Western states from 2012 to 2019. That’s down barely from the 6 p.c improve HLDI recognized in a earlier research, which lined 2012 to 2018.
Whereas the proof that crash charges have elevated in states that legalized marijuana is mounting, it seems that additional research is required to find out whether or not marijuana use alone is accountable. Preliminary knowledge suggests individuals who use alcohol and marijuana collectively are accountable for a lot of the crashes.
One other issue could also be that marijuana customers in counties that don’t enable retail gross sales are driving to counties that do. The elevated journey might result in extra crashes, even when their crash threat per mile traveled isn’t any increased than that of different drivers.