A new survey released by the U.S. government suggests that smoking pot might not significantly increase the risk of a car crash.
NHTSA said the study is the “most precisely controlled” of its kind to date. It suggests that drivers who smoke marijuana are generally more likely to be involved in a traffic accident, but that the increased likelihood is probably coincidental.
“Analyses incorporating adjustments for age, gender, ethnicity, and alcohol concentration level did not show a significant increase in levels of crash risk associated with the presence of drugs,” the study reads. “This finding indicates that these other variables (age, gender ethnicity and alcohol use) were highly correlated with drug use and account for much of the increased risk associated with the use of illegal drugs and with THC.”
The study was conducted in Virginia Beach, Va., over a 20-month period with 3,000 drivers who were involved in crashes and 6,000 drivers who were not involved in crashes.
“These findings highlight the importance of research to better understand how marijuana use affects drivers so states and communities can craft the best safety policies,” NHTSA associate administrator for research and program development Jeff Michael said, cautioning that drivers shouldn’t get behind the wheel while they are impaired and that there isn’t any question about the fact that smoking pot causes impairment