Number of Marijuana-Impaired Drivers Involved in Deadly Crashes Jumps 48 Percent in One Year in Washington State

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission released new data showing that legalizing marijuana increases marijuana-impaired traffic fatalities. From 2010 to 2014, some 60 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes were tested for drugs. About 20 percent (349 drivers) tested positive for marijuana. The new data can distinguish between drivers who were high at the time of the crash as opposed to those who had residual traces of marijuana in their systems from use days earlier. The number of drivers involved in fatalities who tested positive for active THC increased from 65 percent (38 of 60 drivers) in 2013 to 85 percent (75 of 89 drivers) in 2014, the year Washington implemented legal pot. About half of these drivers exceeded the 5 ng/ml THC designation denoting impairment in Washington’s legalization law. The driver with the highest THC level tested at 70 mg/ml. Half of the THC positive drivers were also impaired by alcohol, the majority exceeding 0.08 BAC. The largest increase in active THC positive drivers involved in fatal crashes were young males ages 21 to 25, from 6 in 2013 to 19 in 2014.   From 2008 to 2014, more than 1,100 people died in impaired collisions in Washington State, accounting for nearly half of all traffic deaths and more than one-fifth of serious injury collisions.

Source:  Sept.23rd 2015

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