According to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, states with legalized recreational marijuana do not have a greater increased rate of car accident deaths than states that prohibit the drug.
Researchers in the study compared auto crash fatalities in states where recreational marijuana is legal, such as Colorado and Washington, and compared it to data in states where the drug is still illegal.
According to researchers, there is no significant difference in fatality rates between the two groups.
“This is the first time researchers have actually looked at the real-life effects to see if there have been any major population changes in injuries on the road after marijuana was legalized in these states,” said Jayson Aydelotte, MD, lead study author and trauma surgeon at Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.
“No one has looked to see if actual crashes and deaths happened more frequently yet,” he said.
In previous studies, research was mostly conducted under more controlled conditions. Researches would focus on the effect of marijuana would have on a driver's ability on a closed course, not on the open road.
According to researchers, more research is needed in this area to draw even stronger conclusions.