While crash rates in places where medicinal marijuana is legal were expected to grow, it has health care that drivers that would have consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel have substituted the substance with marijuana.
The replacement of alcohol with weed has brought lower levels of alcohol-impaired driving for people in the 23 states and the District of Columbia.
The largest drop in traffic fatality rates happened for drivers aged 15 to 44, but only in the states where medical marijuana laws are passed. Curiously, drivers over the age of 45 are most likely to be prescribed medicinal marijuana, so people from other age groups might have borrowed from the stash of the elders, but it is all good if fewer people die in car accidents.
Evidently, there’s more to road safety than allowing medicinal marijuana, and even the makers of this study have pointed that out. As The Washington Post notes, improved infrastructure, better health care, and safer cars must have played a role in reducing traffic fatalities, but the link between the places where medical marijuana is legal and where road deaths have decreased is still present.
It is worth noting that not all states were medicinal weed is allowed have maintained their reduction in traffic deaths, as California and New Mexico have seen gradual increases in this phenomena after initial reductions of up to 17.5%.
The legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states is still a relatively new thing, so it will take years until statistics and studies will accurately tell authorities if its presence as a legal high has increased or decreased road safety in those areas.
Drivers that have consumed weed before getting behind the wheel were more aware of their impairment in reaction times than those that have had alcohol in their system, which made many reduce their speed and increase the distance between them and the car in front.
Until authorities determine the effect of weed on road safety, always remember never to drive if you are under the influence of alcohol, a prescription medication that can interfere with your nervous system, or if you consumed drugs.