Data Shows Fatal Car Accident Rates Significantly Higher on 4/20
April 26, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
The pending legalization of recreational marijuana sale and use has left police forces across Canada in a dilemma. While the date of legalization has been widely advertised as coming this summer, the police don’t yet have legal limits for impairment, nor have they been issued approved road side testing devices to determine whether people are impaired.
A recent study co-authored by Dr. Donald Redelmeier suggests that fatal car accident rates on April 20 (4/20 the high holiday) are significantly higher in America than on other days. In fact, the rate rivals traditional heavy drinking holidays in America like Super Bowl Sunday. The study examined 25 years of accident data to draw their conclusions. There is a 12% increase in the risk of fatal accidents after 4:20 pm on April 20 compared with the same time other days of the week.
It is estimated that about 10% of American drivers are high behind the wheel and the estimate is reasonable for Canada as well. The study authors hope that authorities will begin to take 4/20 celebrations seriously and begin propmoting safe options for drivers. These options would include taxi, ride share, public transit, designated drivers etc.
The study states that.
“One-fifth of Americans now live in states that have legalized recreational cannabis, and legalization is set to occur for all Canadians in July 2018,” said lead researcher Dr. John Staples, a clinical assistant professor of medicine and scientist at UBC’s Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences. “We hope that legalization doesn’t lead to more people driving while high.”
In Canada, a 2017 report found that only half of pot smokers think that their cannabis use affects their driving. This all points to the need for serious action to be taken by the legislature, courts, and law enforcement to have a cohesive plan to control a looming problem on the roads.
This also has heightened debate on the legislation being considered at the Canadian federal level that is defining the testing procedures for drugged driving. The accompanying penalties are also being considered.
“Driving is a potentially dangerous activity and improving road safety requires both policymakers and drivers to make smart decisions. If you’re going to get behind the wheel, buckle up, put the phone away, don’t speed, stay sober and don’t drive high.” Dr. Staples, paper co-author.
You can read the entire study here in JAMA.
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