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Study says pot holiday means more fatal accidents

With legal recreational marijuana use spreading across the U.S., people in Texas might be interested in a report that links the drug to fatal car accidents. An analysis of data going back to 1992 shows that fatal car crashes tend to be higher on the April 20 pot holiday.

Researchers did not uncover evidence that marijuana was actually involved in any April 20 crashes between 1992, when the pot holiday was proposed in a magazine, and 2016. However, they found a definite increase in traffic fatalities on that day compared to a day the week prior and a day the week after. They concluded that there was an overall 12 percent rise in the chance of deadly crashes on April 20.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that marijuana can impair the ability to drive. Nevertheless, studies have shown that many marijuana users drive after smoking pot and believe this is safe.

One doctor in Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2012, said that his hospital sees an increase in marijuana-using patients on April 20. Most of these patients come into the hospital because of intoxication or vomiting rather than because of car accidents. However, the doctor says that the study on April 20 car crashes sends the message that people should not use pot and drive.

Driving while intoxicated is against the law whether the impairment is caused by alcohol or drugs. If someone is injured by a driver who was intoxicated at the time of the accident, they may want to file a claim for damages. A successful claim could cover medical bills, lost wages and more.

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