Legal Marijuana and Driving: Some Early Numbers

Posted by Bradley Thayer | Sep 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

Pot smoking and driving are not good things to mix.

No matter your thoughts on the legalization of marijuana sales in Washington in 2013 – like alcohol, marijuana and driving are a dangerous mix. Recent numbers generated by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission confirm this and show this mix is becoming more common on Washington roadways.

The Associated Press reported on August 20, 2015, that nearly twice as many Washington drivers in fatal crashes tested positive for active THC – jumping from between 32 and 38 THC-influenced drivers per year 2010 through 2013 to 75 in 2014.”

Traffic Safety Commission member Shelly Baldwin told the AP that this is particularly alarming because the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes has been falling (from 214 in 2009 to 144 in 2014).

On the whole, however, the AP reported that THC-influenced drivers still make up only a small portion of the total number of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Washington. In 2014, 619 drivers were involved in fatal crashes and 12 percent of those drivers tested positive for THC.

Oregon recently legalized marijuana.  The statistical data has not come out yet for Oregon as to impact on traffic fatalities, but we assume it will be similar to that reported for Washington.

At any rate, please keep this troubling new trend in mind when driving, and be safe.

About the Author

Bradley Thayer

Brad Thayer is a partner at the Schauermann Thayer firm. Brad is licensed in both Oregon and Washington. He has been practicing law since 2015. He was presented the 2018 Rising Star Award by the Clark County Bar Association. Brad's practice focuses on automobile collision, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian injury, dog bite, and myriad other types of injury and insurance cases. During his free time, Brad enjoys following the Portland Trail Blazers, playing basketball, going to concerts, and playing the drums. He especially enjoys hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and exploring other Northwest wonders.


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