RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With extra states legalizing marijuana, like neighboring Virginia, there’s concern over how that may have an effect on street security and automobile crashes.
A new study by Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security indicated crash charges go up in states the place pot is legalized however, it’s not so simple as that.
North Carolina doesn’t maintain monitor of marijuana-impaired driving. All of it falls below one statute.
“A DWI quotation wouldn’t essentially seize what the impairing substance is believed to be. That may come out in the course of the course of the court docket proceedings,” stated Sgt. Christopher Knox with the North Carolina State Freeway Patrol.
The laws in other states fluctuate.
The leisure use of marijuana and its impact on auto crashes has been studied for a number of years. The one factor that’s been constant is the spike in crash charges the place it’s been legalized.
The most recent examine by the IIHS checked out insurance coverage business collision declare information and located a 4 p.c enhance in crash charges in states that legalized marijuana as in comparison with states that didn’t. Nonetheless, that’s not a clear-cut reply.
When the IIHS dug deeper into those that have been handled at hospitals following crashes, it found one other issue at play.
“What we discovered was it the mix of marijuana and alcohol in folks’s techniques that was the driving issue behind a few of these findings.”
That’s hinting that the twin, or poly-substance abuse of marijuana mixed with alcohol may very well be the large concern right here and that coverage makers might wish to contemplate that.
“It’s vital for them to know the poly-substance abuse concern and it’s vital that we proceed to try to deal with the problem of alcohol impairment,” Harkey stated. “It’s actually vital for coverage makers to proceed to search for instruments that exist already and apply these to the problem of impairment on our roadways.”
In relation to how marijuana impacts driving, the IIHS stated there’s no real-world information on the way it modifications folks’s attitudes behind the wheel — solely simulation information.
“They (drivers) sometimes reply extra slowly and drive extra slowly, and they’re rather less aggressive,” Harkey stated.
He stated extra analysis is required to know precisely how marijuana use causes driving impairment both alone or mixed with alcohol.
“As soon as we perceive that, then we are able to develop instruments legislation enforcement can use to handle the issue within the discipline aside from the normal discipline sobriety take a look at,” Harkey stated.
Greater than a 3rd of states have legalized leisure marijuana for adults 21 and older. Latest polls point out that 68 p.c of American adults favor legalization, so the problem of marijuana impairment and driving is one which’s going to be one among rising concern.