As the push to legalize marijuana gains momentum, so is evidence that more permissive policies on the drug are putting motorists at risk.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found, in a study to be released on Thursday, that traffic accidents are rising in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. That followed stark warnings from the National Transportation Safety Board, which on Tuesday issued several recommendations to combat drug-impaired driving.
“The last thing in the world that we want is to introduce another legal substance where we may be adding to that toll and to the carnage on our highways,” said David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute. “With marijuana impairment, we’re just now starting to understand what we don’t know.”
After retail sales of recreational cannabis began, the frequency of collision insurance claims in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State rose about 6 percent higher than in nearby states where marijuana is still illegal, the IIHS said in the study.