Driving May Be Risky Business on 4/20 Pot Holiday

America’s roads are less safe when it is April 20, when pot smokers celebrate their use.

Why? Why?

According to crash data analysis, your risk of being in a fatal accident increases by 12 percent. This is comparable to the increase of traffic risk observed on Super Bowl Sunday.

Lead researcher Dr. John Staples said that teenage drivers are at greater risk of being killed in traffic accidents on the day they turn 18.

Staples, an assistant professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Canada, stated that crash involvement among drivers under 21 years old was 38% higher.

He suggested that the most simple explanation for the rise in fatal crashes is that people get high and then get behind the wheel.

“Cannabis impairs key driving skills. Staples said that the public should not drive high. “Crash risk is increased by impairment from drugs and alcohol.”

But, advocates for marijuana legalization point out that the study does not directly attribute marijuana use to marijuana.

Paul Armentano stated that the data in this paper doesn’t indicate whether any drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes on the day in issue were under the influence or responsible for the accident. He is the deputy director of NORML (a group that advocates for reforming marijuana laws).

Staples is a staff member at St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver. It is near the site of 4/20 celebrations in North America.

Staples stated, “On April 20th, we often see patient number surges, mostly due to drug use.”

Staples and his team compiled crash data for 25 years from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine if the holiday had an effect on road safety.

Staples stated that the investigators chose 1992 for their starting point as High Times magazine had published an article in 1992 celebrating marijuana use.

Researchers compared crashes that occurred between 4 :20 p.m. on April 20 and midnight on April 20, with those that occurred one week earlier, one week later on April 13 or April 27.

Staples confirmed that the crash data used in the study cannot be used to determine whether any of the drivers were drunk.

Staples said that it is possible that people attending the 4/20 events are also drinking or using other drugs. This increases the risk of a fatal crash.

He also noted that the April 20 events could have a significant impact on traffic patterns and increase crash risks. It is possible that police are so focused on drug enforcement that they forget to enforce traffic laws.

Staples stated that there are many possible explanations. “Unfortunately, there is no way to know for certain which are contributing,” Staples said.

According to the study, crash risk was highest in three states: Texas, New York, and Georgia. Armentano noted that none of these states has legalized recreational marijuana.

Armentano stated that “nor are they jurisdictions well-known for having high-profile and attended marijuana-related events in April 20.”

J.T. J.T. Griffin, chief government affairs officer at Mothers Against Drunk Driving, acknowledged that the study was flawed but said that it raised larger questions that are worth investigating.

We don’t yet have a good definition of marijuana impairment. Griffin stated that we still lack good data about how many people are driving while using marijuana. “It’s worth investigating the 4/20 phenomenon more closely to understand what it means in terms traffic deaths.

The study was published online by JAMA Internal Medicine on February 12, 2012.

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Updated 01/24/22