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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Marijuana's Role In Fatal Crashes

Driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous and can lead to accidents that may be deadly. With the ever growing surge of marijuana acceptance is this country more people than ever are getting behind the wheel high, taking their lives and the lives of others in their hands. In fact, a new study finds that marijuana is now playing a major role in traffic fatalities, according to USA Today.

Columbia University researchers found that traffic deaths involving marijuana have tripled compared to a decade earlier. Researchers examined toxicology reports of nearly 24,000 traffic fatalities; the results showed that 12 percent of traffic deaths in 2010 involved marijuana.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a survey which found that drugged driving is quite common amongst teenagers and young adults. The survey showed that one in eight high school seniors said they had driven after smoking marijuana. Nearly half of all fatally injured drivers who tested positive for marijuana were under age 25.

Currently, there is very little data on the impact marijuana has on driving capability. The NHTSA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have been working on a three year study to determine the affect marijuana has on driving. Researchers are looking at drugged driver performance, decision-making, motor control, risk-taking behavior and divided-attention tasks. Using the University of Iowa's National Advanced Driving Simulator, researchers can get a closer look at what happen when one consumes marijuana and gets behind the wheel.
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