Marijuana has been a prevalent headline in the news lately, and many states are on the verge of making it legal to use as a medical tool. It is plausible that the legality of it is making it easier to obtain, which is causing an increased amount of auto insurance claims due to drugged driving.
Columbia University looked at fatal accidents occurring in 2010 and after investigating toxicology reports, found that marijuana was involved in 12 percent of the accidents, up 300 percent from a decade earlier.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is doing its own research, and finding that four percent of drivers are high during the day, six percent at night and on weekend nights that number is closer to 15 percent.
It seems that a large number of those involved in the accidents belong to a younger age bracket, with a quarter of those involved in fatal crashes involving marijuana under 25-years-old.
Many are questioning whether this is related to the legalization of marijuana or just a coincidence, but Colorado began to see a significant increase in fatalities involving marijuana shortly after medical marijuana dispensaries were legalized.
Because this issue is going to continue to play a factor in driver safety, the NHTSA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse are now in the final months of a three-year, half-million-dollar cooperative study to determine the impact of inhaled marijuana on driving performance. Participants will be given either a low-dose of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), a high dose or a placebo. They will then use a high-tech simulator to evaluate performance, decision-making, motor control, risk-taking behavior and divided-attention tasks while driving.
While we look forward to the research, we can conclude from the current studies that have been done that drugged driving is a problem and you should never get behind the wheel of a car after using marijuana, whether for recreational or medicinal use.
Stay road safe. Call Breathe Easy Insurance at 866.822.7755 for more information and to get a free quote for SR22 insurance.