A recent study revealed that fatal car crashes involving marijuana use have tripled in the U.S.
Dr. Guohua Li is the director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia, and co-author of the study. He told reporters that one out of ten people involved in fatal car crashes were using marijuana.
Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health gathered data from California, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and West Virginia. In the study they performed toxicology tests on drivers involved in fatal car accidents. The study involved over 23,500 drivers that had died within one hour of a crash between 1999 and 2010.
Li reported in the study that alcohol contributed to about 40 percent of traffic fatalities throughout the decade.
The researchers discovered that drugs played an increasing role in fatal traffic accidents. Drugged driving accounted for more than 28 percent of traffic deaths in 2010. That is 16 percent more than it was in 1999.
The researchers also revealed that marijuana was the top drug involved that caused the increase. It contributed to 12 percent of fatal crashes, compared to only 4 percent in 1999.
“If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of the driver who is not under the influence of alcohol,” Li said. “But if the driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, their risk increased to 24 times that of a sober person.”
The more people increase the usage of marijuana, the greater the risk of fatality is involved. Some speculate saying should they start testing for drivers that are under the influence of marijuana like they do with alcohol? Would you think this is a good idea?