Effects of marijuana use on traffic safety

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A coalition of drug prevention groups unveiled a new study Thursday that looks at the impact of marijuana use in California.

That report covers a broad range of subjects, including marijuana use by teens, ER visits and the effects on the environment.

The group that called attention to this new study are not stating a position on Prop 64. That’s the initiative that would legalize pot for recreational use in California, but it’s clear that the data in this new report casts a very harsh light on what may happen with the expanded use of marijuana.

The dangers of drinking and driving are indisputable, but fewer studies have been done on the effects of using marijuana behind the wheel.

A new report prepared by the Office of National Drug Control Policy examines the connection between marijuana use and fatal crashes.

Since 2005, the number of fatal crashes has declined, but the number of drivers who tested positive and were involved I deadly collisions increased.

The number was 9 percent in 2005 and 16.5 percent in 2014.

The same study also shows more drivers involved in fatal crash tested positive for marijuana.

Kevin Sabet with the group Sam Approaches to Marijuana, said the statistics show that drivers who are stoned are making our roads more hazardous.

More marijuana impaired drivers will pose new problems for law enforcement. When stopped a suspected drunk driver, officers can measure blood alcohol levels to see if they are legally drunk.

Now, officers will have to look for signs of erratic driving and they can still turn to a blood alcohol test, but lawmakers in California have not yet settled on a legal standard for cannabis impairment.

This week, Triple A in Southern California announced it will oppose the passage of Prop 64.

California can also look at the experiences of other states, where marijuana is legal.

After the state of Washington legalized pot, the number of fatal crashes involving drivers who had recently used marijuana more than doubled.

And there are other consequences. Those opposed to legalization warn that insurance rates for all drivers will be going up. 

Categories: Local San Diego News, Propositions