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For years, drunk driving was the most publicized safety concern related to American roadways, but in recent years other public menaces have appeared. Due to the rise of ubiquitous smartphone use, distracted driving has become one of the most pressing safety issues on the road. Seriously, just put your stupid phone down. In some states, however, the relaxation of laws concerning the use of cannabis has meant stoned driving is now yet another danger we have to have mini-panic attacks over every time we start our cars. While data on the effect of marijuana on driving ability has in the past been difficult to come by, a new study conducted by a team of doctors in British Columbia, Canada has found a significant spike in road fatalities during the April 20th 4/20 “holiday” celebrated throughout North America. Is this further proof of the need to legalize, or a sign that cops need to start cracking a few more hippies’ heads open?
The study was published in the JAMA Journal of Internal Medicine. According to their analysis, the researchers claim the data show a significant increase in the risk of fatal crashes during the appointed 4/20 “holiday” time:
We examined a quarter-century of national data and found a 12% increase in the relative risk of a fatal traffic crash after 4:20 pm on April 20 compared with identical time intervals on control days. Although the vast majority of Americans do not celebrate 4/20, the observed association was comparable in magnitude to the increase in traffic risks observed on Superbowl Sunday.
The researchers hope this correlation could be cited as further need for a re-examination of federal laws concerning marijuana and help law enforcement agencies find ways to stop “drugged driving.” Oh, so it is going to be about cracking heads. It always is.