4/20 marijuana celebration tied to rise in fatal car crashes

4/20 marijuana celebration tied to rise in fatal car crashes thumbnail

Marijuana users’ self-proclaimed holiday is linked with a slight increase in fatal U.S. car crashes, an analysis of 25 years of data found.

The study lacks evidence on whether pot was involved in any of the April 20 crashes, but marijuana can impair driving ability. Previous studies have shown that many pot-using motorists drive after partaking and think it’s safe to do so.

The researchers analyzed U.S. government data on fatal traffic accidents from 1992 — shortly after 4/20 was popularized as a pot holiday in High Times magazine — through 2016. They compared driver deaths on that date with deaths on a day the week before and the week after during the study period.

Deaths increased slightly in most but not all states, amounting to an overall increased risk of 12 per cent — or an extra 142 driver deaths linked with the holiday, said lead author Dr. John Staples at the University of British Columbia.

Other studies have found a similarly elevated risk linked with alcohol and driving on Super Bowl Sunday and New Year’s Eve.



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