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America's Fears About Legal Pot And Stoned Drivers Are Laid Bare In This Shocking Daily Mail Survey

Accidents have increased in legal recreational marijuana states.

Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini / Unsplash
Editor's note: This story by James Reinl, based on the Poll, appeared on the DailyMail website.

Americans by a huge margin worry about more stoned motorists on the road as pot becomes legal in ever more states, a poll shows.

Fully 52 percent said cannabis use was driving up the number of vehicle collisions, according to a survey.

Another 30 percent said widespread weed use was not causing more accidents, and 18 percent said they were not sure.

The survey of 1,435 adults shows growing unease about easy access to pot, which is now legal for adult recreational use in 24 states and Washington, DC.

Voters support legal weed, but also see that it may come with a tragic cost
A stoned motorist sideswiped a bus, killing eight Mexican farmworkers and injuring dozens more in Florida this week. Screenshot.

Voters broadly support legalization, but our survey show that many also feel easily-available weed has a major downside.

That cost was palpable in north-central Florida on Tuesday, when a stoned motorist sideswiped a bus, killing eight Mexican farmworkers and injuring dozens more.

Bryan Maclean Howard, a man with a long record of dangerous driving, told cops he smoked cannabis oil and took prescription drugs hours before the crash in Marion County.

He drove his 2001 Ford pickup into the center line on a two-lane road and struck the bus, causing it to veer off the road, strike a tree and flip over, officials say.

The 41-year-old pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence-manslaughter and remained jailed without bond.

In a separate incident late last month, the owner of a cannabis store in Schenectady, New York, was arrested over a crash that left six people injured on Super Bowl Sunday.

Donald Andrews Jr, 35, was charged with driving under the influence and other offenses over the incident, which saw his Tesla go over a guardrail and onto a thruway below, where it was struck by an SUV.

Evidence over the links between weed use and vehicle collisions is mixed.

Credit: DailyMail
Police said this two-car crash in Lyon Township, Michigan, was linked to a 19-year-old woman driver using weed. Screenshot.
The link between recreational pot use and booze in recent years has been most significant among younger adults. Credit: DailyMail.

A study in last month’s issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention found that pot use alone did not raise the odds of car accidents.

Drunk drivers were more likely to be involved in crashes, researchers found, as were those who mixed cannabis with booze.

Still, researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety say the number of car crash injuries has risen by nearly six percent in states that have legalized recreational weed.

The group's 2022 study showed a 5.8 percent rise in traffic crashes in Colorado Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada after pot shops sprang up in those states.

More than 44,000 lives were lost in traffic crashes in the US in 2023, according to an estimate from the National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit advocacy group.

The number marks a 4 percent drop from 2022, but is still 13.6 percent higher than road death rates in 2019 before the pandemic.

Though weed has been made legal in dozens of states, it remains illegal under federal law.

President Joe Biden has spoken of America’s ‘failed approach to marijuana’ and the US Drug Enforcement Administration is moving to reclassify pot as a less dangerous drug, but not to greenlight recreational use.

While most Americans support legal recreational use, our survey shows similar levels of concern about driving-while-stoned.

Men, those aged 65 and above, those living in the US Northeast were more worried about high motorists than other groups.

There was also a partisan difference. While 59 percent of Republican voters said cannabis-linked car crashes were rising, a smaller 52 percent of Democrats agreed.

The nationwide survey has a +/-2.7 percent error margin. It was carried out earlier this month by TIPP, which has been noted for the accuracy of its polls.

Credit: DailyMail

Related video: States with recreational marijuana have seen increases in car crashes, study shows

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