USA Today 9 June 2014
As more states are poised to legalize medicinal marijuana, it’s looking like dope is playing a larger role as a cause of fatal traffic accidents.
Columbia University researchers performing a toxicology examination of nearly 24,000 driving fatalities concluded that marijuana contributed to 12% of traffic deaths in 2010, tripled from a decade earlier.
NHTSA studies have found drugged driving to be particularly prevalent among younger motorists. One in eight high school seniors responding to a 2010 survey admitted to driving after smoking marijuana. Nearly a quarter of drivers killed in drug-related car crashes were younger than 25. Likewise, nearly half of fatally injured drivers who tested positive for marijuana were younger than 25.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that 4% of drivers were high during the day and more than 6% at night, and that nighttime figure more than doubled on weekends.
Colorado has seen a spike in driving fatalities in which marijuana alone was involved, according to Insurance.com. The trend started in 2009 — the year medical marijuana dispensaries were effectively legalized at the state level.