Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Is Marijuana Use Causing More Fatal Car Crashes?

 

Statistics Show Fatal Car Crashes up 300% Involving Marijuana

The US was on a roll.  Traffic accidents and deaths due to traffic accidents have been headed down for over a decade.  But as cars become safer and traffic science improves, Americans seem apt to distract themselves more while driving.  We discussed the effect of texting in this article.  The other distraction seems to driving while high.

Ironically, some studies show that using a small amount of weed might actually reduce accidents as the driver may be more "mellow."  But the use of marijuana is also associated with increased use of other drugs, including alcohol, and the combination is deadly.  According to this study:

“Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana,” Dr. Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia, and co-author of the study told HealthDay News.
Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health gathered data from six states – California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia – that perform toxicology tests on drivers involved in fatal car accidents. This data included over 23,500 drivers that died within one hour of a crash between 1999 and 2010.
Li reported in the study that alcohol contributed to about 40 percent of traffic fatalities throughout the decade.
The researchers found that drugs played an increasing role in fatal traffic accidents. Drugged driving accounted for more than 28 percent of traffic deaths in 2010, which is 16 percent more than it was in 1999.
The researchers also found that marijuana was the main drug involved in the increase. It contributed to 12 percent of fatal crashes, compared to only 4 percent in 1999.
“If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of the driver who is not under the influence of alcohol,” Li said. “But if the driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, their risk increased to 24 times that of a sober person.”
If you have been involved in a traffic accident and you or someone in your family was serious injured, you may want to speak to an attorney prior to entering negotiations with any insurance company agent, even your own.  Call now for a completely free consultation about your case

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