Marijuana Use and Accident Statistics

Many anti-marijuana advocates argue legalizing cannabis would result in more traffic accidents and therefore more deaths. Pro-legalization advocates on the other hand claim alcohol causes many more traffic accidents than marijuana.

Although many independent studies have shown differing information on the topic, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute, car crashes were up a little over 5% in states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized.

Another study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk for a crash compared to drivers who use alcohol. NHTSA studies show people who use marijuana tend to drive slower and follow other cars at a greater distance. On the flip side, those who have consumed alcohol do the opposite. They generally drive faster and follow at closer distance which can lead to greater risk for accidents.

Another recent study from France claims someone driving under the influence of marijuana was 1.65 times more likely to cause a fatal traffic accident than someone driving sober. However, someone driving under the influence of alcohol was 17.8 times more likely to cause a fatal accident than someone driving sober.

Needless to say, whenever any type of mind-altering substance is taken, whether it be alcohol, marijuana or even some prescription drugs, users should never get behind the wheel under the influence.