States with medical marijuana laws see a decline in fatal car crashes

Seven states saw a major dip in fatal car crashes, and medical marijuana is the reason. 

It’s not secret, marijuana doesn’t effect a driver the same way alcohol does, and according to a new study, the proof is in the pudding. ArsTechnica reports, “when examining 19 states that had medical marijuana laws on the books by 2014, researchers found that their average rate of traffic deaths fell 11 percent after the laws were enacted.” It should be noted, only seven states saw drastic reductions, while two states saw an increase.

The seven states with death rate reductions were California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona. Rhode Island and Connecticut saw increased traffic death rates.

Here’s the rest of the findings from American Public Health Association:

“On average, MML states had lower traffic fatality rates than non-MML states. Medical marijuana laws were associated with immediate reductions in traffic fatalities in those aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 44 years, and with additional yearly gradual reductions in those aged 25 to 44 years. However, state-specific results showed that only 7 states experienced post-MML reductions. Dispensaries were also associated with traffic fatality reductions in those aged 25 to 44 years.”

ArsTechnica reports further, “the findings were drawn from nationwide census data on traffic fatalities between 1985 and 2014, maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and took into account changes in things like laws on speeding and texting, as well as seat belt enforcement. In the study’s time frame, 1.22 million people died in car crashes across the country.”

The whole point of the study was to argue against the argument that medical marijuana would lead to more fatal accidents. Turns out, they nailed it right on the head, showing the opposition that it could in fact reduce the number of fatal accidents.

“Both MMLs and dispensaries were associated with reductions in traffic fatalities, especially among those aged 25 to 44 years.”

ArsTechnica via AJPH

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