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More People Testing Positive For Marijuana After Fatal Crashes

Currently, the recreational use of marijuana is legal for adults over the age of 21 in eleven states. 33 other states have legalized the use of marijuana for approved medical conditions. Although the use of marijuana has been made legal in many states, the act of driving while under the influence of marijuana is still illegal. According to the CDC, marijuana can impair a person’s ability to drive because it can slow reaction time and the ability to make decisions. It can also distort perception and lead to memory loss and difficulty in problem-solving. There is currently no approved roadside test for a driver being under the influence of marijuana. 

Niagara Frontier Publications reports that a study has revealed that after legalization, the number of fatal car crashes where a driver tested positive for marijuana has increased. New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that a growing number of Washington state drivers are testing positive for recent marijuana use following fatal crashes. 

Since legalized marijuana began in Washington in December 2012, the number of drivers testing positive for THC following deadly crashes has doubled. This raises significant concerns given that marijuana is now legal in 11 states and Washington, D.C. 

Between 2008 and 2012, before the drug was legalized, the number of drivers who tested positive for THC was 8.8%. Between 2013 and 2017, that number rose to 18%. The study only looked at the numbers of drivers who were tested and found to have THC in their system following an accident. It did not look into whether marijuana intoxication contributed to the accident.

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