New research has revealed that with the legalization of marijuana across 20 states, the drug is now playing a more prominent role in fatal crashes, reports NBCNews.com.
A study by Columbia University and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that legal marijuana was detected in the bodies of deceased drivers three times more often over the course of 2010 as when compared to those who died in the driver’s seat in 1999.
The data was collected from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which looked at greater than 23,000 drivers who died during the 11-month period.
While alcohol remains by a large margin the most common substance found in dead drivers (discovered in the blood of almost 40 percent of those who died across six states in 2010), the rate of alcohol related driving deaths has remained stable between 1999 and 2010.
Canabinol, a leftover of marijuana use that remains in the blood, has increased from 4.2 percent in 1999 to 12.2 percent in 2010 in deceased drivers. Marijuana was the most common non-alcoholic mind-altering substance detected in those toxicology tests.
Drugged driving (not just Marijuana but all drugs except alcohol) is increasing as well. Instances of traffic deaths where the deceased driver had non-alcoholic drugs in their system moved from 16.6 percent in 1999 to 28.3 percent in 2010.
The study was conducted in California and five other states where toxicology tests are regularly performed within one hour of a traffic death.
We will keep you updated as this story unfolds.
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