NHTSA: Marijuana Use Not Likely To Increase Accident Risk

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

Planning to light one up before visiting the local drive-thru taquería? The NHTSA says marijuana use might not increase the risk of an accident after all.

According to AutoGuide, the agency’s study on the matter — the “most precisely controlled” study of its kind to date — says that while marijuana users may end up in accidents more often, but that said increase is coincidental:

Analyses incorporating adjustments for age, gender, ethnicity, and alcohol concentration level did not show a significant increase in levels of crash risk associated with the presence of drugs. This finding indicates that these other variables (age, gender ethnicity and alcohol use) were highly correlated with drug use and account for much of the increased risk associated with the use of illegal drugs and with THC.

Despite the findings, NHTSA associate administrator for research and program development Jeff Michael cautions that marijuana users shouldn’t drive while impaired, especially as the drug does bring on impairment.

The study took place in Virginia Beach, Va. for 20 months with a sample of 9,000, two-thirds of whom had never been in an accident.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Lghthvyw8 Lghthvyw8 on Feb 10, 2015

    Why are so many people so concerned with people driving while high on weed? In all the years of it's use I have yet to see any kind of movement about preventing people from driving while stoned, drunk yes. There are all kinds of groups trying to prevent drunk driving, from high schools to adult life. If driving while stoned is such a problem, where are all the crashes, where are all the dead bodies? Oh wait....they are under the bodies of people who are dead as the result of road rage, cell phones, and alcohol. And don't reply and tell me that it happens, if you say that people crash and die while they are high, please provide a link proving it. I would ride with someone who was stoned any day, they are more observant, and far more cautious, I have rode with people who have road rage and they scare the shit out of me, the only thing a stoned drive may do is drive a little slow. You want to complain about distracted driving why don't you start with cell phones, because people are dying from cell phone use while driving and not just from texting.

    • See 7 up See 7 up on Feb 11, 2015

      Strangely, the people the think weed is grown by the devil himself, have only now thought about this issue? It is almost like they believe prohibition worked and because people hid use, nobody was doing it - what you can't see can't hurt...? Millions of people have been using marijuana for decades. If it caused anywhere close to even a 1/4 the havoc alcohol causes, we know about it. As for texting and stuff. It's strange. It's been shown texting can increase crash risk similar to a bac of 0.08. And yet one will land you in jail, the other mothers do with children in tow and should they be caught it's a couple hundred dollar fine at most. There is little rationality I many of out laws. Marijuana prohibition is about te least rational policy I have ever seen

  • JimC2 JimC2 on Feb 10, 2015

    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

  • Shaker Shaker on Feb 12, 2015

    This gives me an idea - carpet-bomb northwest Iraq/northeast Syria with gasified THC, and make "rain" with care packages containing pot brownies and Doritos. Repeat as necessary. Make love, not war, as they say.

  • Andrewa Andrewa on Feb 12, 2015

    Brilliant shaker! The only way I could top your statement would be to add pork chops and sausages with HP sauce to the care packages. (consumption perfectly voluntary of course)