A review of nine studies published in a British medical journal has focused attention on the relationship between marijuana use and traffic accidents has suggested that use of the drug greatly increases the risk of a potential accident. A few interesting observations from the study:
- Among impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims, marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug that has been detected, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- Alcohol impairs drivers’ speed and reaction time, while cannabis affects spatial location and drivers who have recently smoked marijuana may follow cars too closely, and swerve in and out of lanes.
- People who are under the influence of alcohol often recognize that they’re impaired by alcohol, but those under the influence of cannabis routinely deny being impaired in any way.
The study results, while interesting are limited in that it is based on observational data rather than controlled experimentation. With existing research there is also a lack of measurement of cannabis in the body within the first few hours of those involved in automobile crashed.
The scientists involved have called for additional research to validate the conclusions drawn from the currently available data.