In an effort to understand the link between marijuana use and fatal accidents, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health recently conducted an analysis of nine epidemiologic studies. The team looked at accident statistics from six states that perform toxicology tests on any driver involved in a fatal crash—California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Following are the findings:
- Marijuana use tripled over the last ten years, causing an increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities.
- Drivers who test positive for marijuana or who admit to using the drug have more than double the risk of causing a fatal car accident.
- Currently, one out of every nine drivers involved in a fatal crash would test positive for marijuana.
- Alcohol contributed to about 40 percent of traffic fatalities throughout the decade—a number that has remained steady. Marijuana use, on the other hand, has played an increasing role in fatal accidents, jumping from 4 percent in 1999 to nearly 12 percent in 2010.
- A driver under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana is 24 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a sober driver.
Researchers did caution that, because marijuana remains in the bloodstream for about a week, the mere presence of the drug does not necessarily indicate driver impairment. However, the overall trend is alarming—especially since states are moving quickly to legalize marijuana.
Have you lost a loved one in an accident fueled by drugs or alcohol on Spring Creek Road, Illinois Route 2, I-90, or elsewhere in the greater Rockford area? Contact us today to find out how we can help you to obtain a sense of closure and compensation for your tragic loss.