States Should Consider the Risk of Marijuana-Impaired Driving as New Research Links Legalization to Crash Increase

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2017

Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org
202-789-0942 x140

Statement for attribution to
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Executive Director Jonathan Adkins

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New research from the Highway Data Loss Institute (HLDI) reinforces the need for states to consider the risk of marijuana-impaired driving as they move toward liberalizing marijuana laws. HLDI insurance claims data links legalizing recreational marijuana to an increase in motor vehicle crashes. Specifically, the first three states to legalize recreational marijuana had a combined effect of 3% more collision claims than their neighboring states after introducing retail sales.

To confront this complex and evolving highway safety issue, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) recently released a comprehensive report about drug use on our nation’s roadways. Drug Impaired Driving: A Guide for States equips states and policymakers with the latest research, data, laws and programs to help them address this growing problem. The most recent national data found marijuana was present in 12.2% of all fatally injured drivers tested for drugs.

GHSA’s report also highlights a key drug-impaired driving challenge: improving the quality and quantity of data related to drug-impaired driving. GHSA recommends states increase drug testing, bolster laboratory resources, track DUI and DUID data separately in state records, use surveys to gauge public attitudes, and evaluate the effects of any law or program changes.

GHSA applauds HLDI for adding to the body of knowledge on drug-impaired driving and looks forward to working with national and state highway safety partners to address the growing problem of drugged driving.

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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.