Recently published studies reveal a dark side to the use of marijuana (MJ). Marijuana is globally the most widely used illegal substance with rates of its use by driver increasing. The USA is the first in allowing legal use at state levels despite a federal ban. Confirmation exists that increased use by both sexes and in all age groups is occurring.
-Researchers looking at 9 studies (Dalhousie University, Canada) involving more than 49,000 people who were in vehicle accidents (cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles) revealed accident & use correlation. Marijuana use was confirmed by blood tests or self-reporting. Drivers who had used MJ within 3 hours of driving had almost a double likelihood of causing a collision!
-Back in 2007 (Scotland) review found 15 percent of 537 drivers aged 17 to 39 had used marijuana within 12 hours and these Cannabis smokers had a 10-fold increase in car crash injury.
In the last decade the death from vehicular accidents involving marijuana use has tripled. Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health report: “Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana” They postulate that if growth in use continues, in five or six years “non–alcohol drugs will overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving.”
Realize this data (collected 1999-2010) is from six states where when there is a death from car accidents drug testing is mandatory. Sadly 23,500 deaths occurred during that time period.
FYI – California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia.
Note: roadside drug testing occurs in parts of Australia
Impairment by Cannabis is real!