Yo, what’s good fam? I got some dope news for you. Around 1 in every 7 pedestrian deaths is caused by a drunk driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that every day, 32 people are killed due to drunk driving. That’s one death every 45 minutes, and it’s a completely unnecessary, preventable death. We all know that alcohol seriously impairs drivers and people continue to do it. Booze changes your judgment, seriously affects your ability to concentrate, and messes with your coordination and vision. All of these factors contribute to impaired driving that can kill pedestrians.
But yo, check this out – with cannabis legalization in effect, more and more people are consuming pot instead of drinking. And this has been a massive help in reducing pedestrian deaths caused by impaired driving.
There is a new study conducted by two researchers at the Florida Polytechnic University that analyzed the association between cannabis legalization and pedestrian deaths from 1985 to 2019. This study was published in the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences Research journal and found that both recreational and medical cannabis legalization were associated with reductions in pedestrian fatalities, including those that were linked to alcohol.
The researchers concluded that “as of 2019, we find that liberalization has been associated with lower pedestrian fatalities, not higher. Further, the pattern is consistent with the alcohol substitution hypothesis. Specifically, the induced decline in alcohol-related fatalities following liberalization is large enough to more than compensate for any additional fatalities due to marijuana consumption.”
But this isn’t all new news, my dudes. Access to legal marijuana and the reduction of traffic fatalities isn’t a new association by any means. Studies as far back as 2011 have found the same results. A November 2011 study by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver found that medical marijuana laws have been linked to a 9% decrease in traffic fatalities as well as a 5% drop in beer sales.
For this study, they analyzed data from several sources such as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Professor Daniel Rees explains that “Our research suggests that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities through reducing alcohol consumption by young adults.” This is the first study ever to analyze any link between medical marijuana laws and traffic fatalities.
“Traffic fatalities are an important outcome from a policy perspective because they represent the leading cause of death among Americans aged five to 34,” says co-author D. Mark Anderson.
Meanwhile, another study in 2013 yielded similar results. Researchers from Montana State University, University of Colorado, and the University of Oregon examined data on traffic deaths and alcohol consumption taken from 1990 through 2010.
“Using individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)…, we find that MMLs (medical marijuana laws) are associated with decreases in the probability of an individual having consumed alcohol in the past month, binge drinking, and the number of drinks consumed,” they said.
In addition, these researchers acknowledge that the reduction in alcohol consumption is probably responsible for the decrease in alcohol-related traffic deaths.
So yo, here’s what’s up – improved access to legal marijuana laws whether medical or recreational is reason enough for more people to give up alcohol and use pot instead. Drinking and driving is bad enough– it kills thousands – but it also harms anyone who consumes it especially with chronic use or binge drinking.
More people are seeing the benefits of consuming marijuana instead. It can not only help reduce alcohol intake but it can also greatly eliminate dependency on it and improve families and societies as a whole. Alcohol was notorious for tearing families apart and breaking up relationships – cannabis is a better substitute instead. And when it comes to driving – always drive sober – it’s illegal to drive under the influence no matter what substance you use.