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GHSA Releases Guide for States as Concerns Raised Over Marijuana Legalization’s Impact on Traffic Safety

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) announced it has released a new guide summarizing the most pertinent marijuana driving studies to date.

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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) announced it has released a new guide summarizing the most pertinent marijuana driving studies to date regarding:

  • Marijuana use by drivers overall
  • Marijuana presence in arrested and crash-involved drivers
  • Marijuana presence in drivers involved in fatal crashes
  • Impact on crash rates
  • Public perceptions of marijuana use and driving

The guide notes that in Colorado and Washington, fatal crashes involving marijuana have increased in both states since legalization; however, GHSA does not believe that firm conclusions cannot yet be reached regarding crash rates in these states.

New research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) finds the number of motor vehicle crashes reported to insurers and to police has increased in the first states to legalize recreational marijuana sales when compared with neighboring states that have not legalized marijuana. This research is a reminder that states need to consider the traffic safety impact before legalizing marijuana.

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“At a minimum, both the new data from IIHS and GHSA’s guide illustrate that states grappling with marijuana legalization would be wise to consider the potential traffic safety ramifications,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of GHSA.

The GHSA guide was authored by Dr. Jim Hedlund, a former senior official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Hedlund has written three drugged driving reports for GHSA. His most recent study focused on the traffic safety issues for states dealing with increased marijuana and opioid usage.

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