Traffic fatalities linked to marijuana are up sharply in Colorado. Is legalization to blame?

Traffic fatalities linked to marijuana are up sharply in Colorado. Is legalization to blame?

The number of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Colorado who tested positive for marijuana has risen sharply each year since 2013, more than doubling in that time, federal and state data show. A Denver Post analysis of the data and coroner reports provides the most comprehensive look yet into whether roads in the state have become more dangerous since the drug’s legalization.

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Marijuana and Alcohol DUI's Differ By Time of Day

Marijuana and Alcohol DUI's Differ By Time of Day

Marijuana and DUI fatal crashes by time of day are startlingly different. Marijuana fatal crashes dominates daytime populated rush hour traffic -  before and after standard work hours. For 11 consecutive daytime one-hour time periods, 6am to 5pm, the percentage of marijuana crash fatalities exceeded DUI crash fatalities. DUI crashes dominate the evening hours and occur during some of the least populated road times. For 8 consecutive evening time periods, 8pm to 4am, the percentage of DUI crashes exceeded marijuana crashes.

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Drugged driving eclipses drunken driving in tests of motorists killed in crashes

Drugged driving eclipses drunken driving in tests of motorists killed in crashes

Of the drivers who tested positive for drugs, more than a third had used marijuana and more than 9 percent had taken amphetamines.

“As drunken driving has declined, drugged driving has increased dramatically, and many of today’s impaired drivers are combining two or more substances,” said Ralph S. Blackman, president of the foundation, a nonprofit founded and funded by a group of distillers.

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