As more and more states move to legalize medical marijuana (and some even progress toward legalizing recreational use of the drug), concerns about the safety of marijuana continue to surface.
One recent study found that marijuana usage was linked to brain abnormalities in regions responsible for emotion and motivation.
Now, research out of Columbia University has shown that marijuana is contributing more to traffic deaths than in previous years.
Here are the details about this research — and what your company should do to protect against drugged driving.
Marijuana Linked to More Traffic Accidents
Researchers conducted a toxicology examination of 24,000 driving fatalities that occurred in 2010, finding that marijuana usage was involved in 12% of recorded traffic deaths.
That figure is nearly triple from a decade earlier, and with marijuana availability only rising, the rates are likely higher now.
Previous studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have shown that younger drivers are more likely to drive drugged. A 2010 survey found that 1 in 8 high school seniors had driven after smoking marijuana, and almost 25% of drivers killed in drug-related motor vehicle accidents are under age 25. Under 25-year-olds also make up almost half of all fatally injured drivers who tested positive for marijuana use.
How Has Marijuana Impacted Traffic Accidents?
The NHTSA and National Institute on Drug Abuse have partnered to study how marijuana affects driving performance. Using a state-of-the-art driving simulator at the University of Iowa, the three-year study involves observing participants under the influence of both low and high doses of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, as well as a placebo. The groups hope to gain insight on how marijuana usage affects driving performance, motor control, risk-taking, and decision-making.
Since the study is wrapping up within months, more conclusive information about marijuana’s affects on driving abilities should be revealed in the next few years.
Protect Your Company Against Drugged Driving Today!
Whether your business is in transportation and falls under DOT testing regulations or you simply want to ensure your workers’ safety off the clock by preventing drugged driving, ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City North can help. We provide drug testing in the Northland, including DOT testing and random, post-accident, or pre-employment workplace drug testing for marijuana.
To learn more about our drug testing services north of the river, call ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City North today at (816) 399-4597.