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Smoking Weed Doubles Car Crash Risk

By February 15, 2012

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Drivers who smoke marijuana within three hours of getting behind the wheel are much more likely to get into a serious vehicle crash than drivers who are not under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. A study of almost 50,000 vehicular collisions found that smoking weed is almost as dangerous as driving with an blood alcohol concentration of 0.08.

The findings were the result of reviewing ten separate research studies on the effects of marijuana in 49,411 auto collisions.

In a study published on BMJ.com, researchers at Dalhousie University found that drivers who smoked marijuana were twice as likely to cause an auto crash that causes serious injury or death than those not under the influence.

Risk Includes All Vehicle Types

The increase risk of marijuana use was found in the driving of cars, vans, SUVs, trucks, buses and motorcycles. The study also found that the risk of a collision is substantially higher if the driver is under age 35.

The researchers were not able to determine the impact of smoking marijuana on the risk of minor (fender bender) type crashes, from the studies they reviewed, but the increased risk was most evident in studies of fatal crashes, they said.

They also found that drivers in fatal auto crashes had a higher level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their system than those in non-fatal crashes, but that might be due to the fact that the fatal drivers' blood was tested at death while some time elapsed before drivers in non-fatal crashes were tested.

Alcohol Still More Dangerous

Although the research found that marijuana smokers were twice as likely to be involved in collisions, their study did confirm that alcohol consumption is still the No. 1 cause of vehicular crashes with drivers with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 being 2.69 times more likely to be involved in a serious crash than those not under the influence.

Just because drinking and driving is more dangerous than smoking weed and driving, does not mean marijuana use and driving is safe, the researchers said. Pot smokers are significantly more likely to get into a collision than non-smokers.

The February 2010 BMJ study seems to confirm a previous British report by Coroner's Society president Hamish Turner which said "Marijuana Causes Many Deaths Reported as 'Accidents'," in which he said that, although smoking marijuana did not directly cause fatalities, that it was a factor in many types of accidents that were fatal.

More Than Driving Skills Affected

The distinction between marijuana causing death and being a factor in deadly accidents was apparently lost on the more than 400 stoners who posted comments calling the article a bunch of bull and the writer of the article an idiot.

Ironically, those who commented from the viewpoint that the article said "Marijuana Causes Death," when in fact the article said "Marijuana Causes Accidents," provided additional evidence that smoking weed obviously impairs more functions than mere driving skills.

Particularly humorous were the posters who claimed to have 4.0 grade-point averages or post-graduate degrees, whose comments were riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.

Source: Asbridge, M, et al. "Acute Cannabis Consumption and Motor Vehicle Collision Risk: Systematic Review of Observational Studies and Meta-Analysis," BMJ.com 9 February 2012.

More About Marijuana

Photo: PhotoXpress.com
February 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm
(1) asdfjkl says:

You are uneducated and not cool.

February 17, 2012 at 9:43 am
(2) 420 says:

“it was a factor in many fatal accidents that were fatal.”

Yeah stoners have bad grammar, ok dude. Terrible reporting and writing

February 27, 2012 at 10:46 am
(3) Ben Dover says:

Legalize weed

March 30, 2012 at 10:24 am
(4) Smokesalot says:

I see no proof or evidence in this article or any other article speaking of this problem. They said this, they said that. There’s more evidence proving THC makes for safer more cautious drivers.

Also, how can you talk to your commenters that way? Those are the people who read your garbage and you’re knocking them? Good job.

May 10, 2012 at 10:08 am
(5) yao! says:

this article is pure bull i smoke weed everyday more than a joint lol more like bongload every 20 seconds.. i rolled a car going to school last year one of the only times i was ever not high driving i drive 20 times better stoned outta my tree than sober.. personal experience beats your studies that NEVER covers everyone lol im a a teen and can still say you know less about this than me haha

December 31, 2012 at 11:30 am
(6) Shattah206 says:

@Smokesalot: Dude, this isn’t the study. this is an article about the study. if you want methodologies and details, go to the source of the study, which the writer provided for that very purpose.

@yao!: You are not the poster child your cause was hoping for. Just sayin’!

November 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm
(7) Billy bob says:

if you have been drinking alcohol and smoking weed for at least 5 years u would know and understand the difference and realize how obvious it is that alcohol is the sole proprietor in “f**** shit up”… not weed man… im not callin you an idiot or uneducated.. im just sayin… first hand experience of all the various driving situations will explain the precise difference between weed and alcohol.. and not to mention, everybody reacts differently to weed and alcohol.. the genetic makeup of a person has alot to do with his/her ability to drive under the influence of weed or alcohol, respectively. With that being said, alcohol is, by far, more dangerous during all situations, despite experience or genetics. I hope that I have enlightened at least one person from this comment

February 17, 2014 at 11:38 am
(8) order titanium pro X says:

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied
on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why waste
your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us
something enlightening to read?

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