Deadly crashes involving marijuana users doubled in this state

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Marijuana-linked traffic fatalities on the rise, AAA warns

The number of deadly road accidents related to marijuana more than doubled in Washington after it became one of the first states to legalize the drug for recreational use, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

In 2014, the percentage of drivers involved in deadly accidents who had recently used marijuana spiked to 17—up from eight percent a year earlier, the Washington-D.C. based organization said.

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"The significant increase in fatal crashes involving marijuana is alarming," Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a news release about the organization's findings. "Washington serves as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug."

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Deadly crashes involving marijuana users doubled in this state

Alabama

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images)

Alaska

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use 

(Photo: Zoonar/N.Okhitin via Getty Images)

Arizona

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: TaylorB90/Flickr)

Arkansas

No legalization of any kind 

(photo: yorkfoto)

California

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Colorado

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use  

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Connecticut

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Delaware

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Florida

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Georgia

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Hawaii

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Idaho

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Illinois

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm)

Indiana

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Iowa

No legalization of any kind

(photo: yorkfoto)

Kansas

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Kentucky

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Louisiana

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Maine

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Maryland

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Massachusetts

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Michigan

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Minnesota

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: anthonylibrarian/Flickr)

Mississippi

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc via Getty Images)

Missouri

No legalization of any kind 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Montana

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: J.Stephen Conn/Flickr)

Nebraska

No legalization of any kind 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Nevada

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

New Hampshire

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

New Jersey

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

New Mexico

Marijuana legalized for medical use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

New York

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

North Carolina

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Getty Images)

North Dakota

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Ohio

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Oklahoma

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Oregon

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use  

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Pennsylvania

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Henryk Sadura)

Rhode Island 

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

South Carolina

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

South Dakota

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL/Flickr)

Tennessee

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Texas

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Utah

No legalization of any kind 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Vermont

Marijuana legalized for medical use

(photo: Shutterstock)

Virginia

No legalization of any kind

(photo: Shutterstock)

Washington

Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use 

(photo: Shutterstock)

West Virginia 

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: dk_photos via Getty Images )

Wisconsin

No legalization of any kind 

(photo: Kubrak78)

Wyoming

No legalization of any kind

(Photo: Space Images via Getty Images)

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Washington state, along with at least five other states, have set what are known as per se limits—limits on how much active THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis plants, a driver can have in his or her system, the AAA foundation says. But the safety foundation described such limits as "arbitrary" and "unsupported by science," and has called on law enforcement to instead test for recent marijuana use and determine if there's physiological and behavioral signs of impairment in a driver.

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To come to its conclusion, the AAA foundation analyzed data related to almost 5,500 drivers who were arrested for impaired driving and found to have some form of active THC in their blood. The organization said there was no correlation between specific levels of the substance in the systems and their poor driving. Some drivers with low levels of active THC could be considered unsafe at the wheel after assessment, but others who had consumed higher levels of the drug could appear capable of driving safely, the study concluded.

Washington state passed legislation in November 2012 permitting recreational drug use, which allows anyone 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of the drug. Colorado passed a similar law on the same day, and Alaska, Oregon and D.C. have also legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.

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The drug is legal for medicinal use in 20 states, and up to 11 more states will vote to legalize it for for either medicinal or recreational use, or both, this year, the Associated Press reports. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

The post Deadly Crashes Involving Marijuana Users Doubled In This State appeared first on Vocativ.

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