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Marijuana-related fatal car accidents on the rise

Researchers looking at car crash statistics from six states around the country have determined that the rate of deadly car crashes involving drivers with marijuana in their systems has tripled over the past ten years.

During the same period of time, the ratio of alcohol-related fatal car crashed stayed about the same (around 40 percent). Drugged driving in general accounted for 28 percent of fatal crashes in 2010, the most recent year of statistics that were examined. That proportion represents a 12 percent increase from 11 years ago. Among those fatal drugged driving accidents, marijuana was the main drug involved, contributing to 12 percent of crashes in 2010, compared with only four percent in 1999.

As marijuana becomes more legally accessible in the United States experts anticipate that these numbers will continue to climb, particularly if there continues to be a lack of awareness about the dangers of stoned driving. There are also issues surrounding effective roadside testing for drivers under the influence of marijuana, as the THC content of one's blood is not necessarily an accurate indicator of how impaired they are at that moment since it stays in the system for a much longer term than alcohol but does not maintain its intoxicating effect.

Drivers must be aware that smoking or otherwise ingesting pot and then getting behind the wheel is quite dangerous and negligent and can lead to a car accident that injures others or causes deaths. As a result, it is crucial that drivers who choose to undertake this behavior be held accountable.

Source: WTVG-13, "Fatal car crashes involving pot use have tripled in U.S.," Dennie Thompson, Feb. 4, 2014

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