Cannabis Legalization Linked to Increase in Fatal Motor Vehicle Collisions
October 6th, 2021
News, Top Story
Most people that have used recreational cannabis know of its mind-altering effects. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that driving under the influence of marijuana can at least disrupt traffic and, at worst, lead to an increase in fatal motor vehicle collisions. A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal confirmed these suspicions.
Let’s take a look at recent studies showing a troubling trend and some solutions to the problem, including Cannabix Technologies Inc.’s (CSE: BLO, OTC: BLOZF) unique FAIMS-based breathalyzer technology.
An Increase in Fatal Accidents
The study, “Impaired Driving and Legalization of Recreational Cannabis,” sought to explore the link between cannabis legalization and fatal motor vehicle collisions across the United States and Canada. The authors found a small but significant increase in fatal motor vehicle collisions and fatalities, resulting in as many as 308 excess deaths in Canada.
With 13% of cannabis users reporting driving within two hours of cannabis consumption, driving under the influence is a significant problem that will continue to grow as more and more people consume legal cannabis products. In Canada, the number of people reporting cannabis consumption rose from 14% in 2018 to 17% in 2019.
Of course, non-fatal collisions and dangerous driving have their own costs. For example, an analysis of 2012 data found that the cost of cannabis-related crashes in Canada exceeds $1 billion per year when factoring in societal and economic costs. And drivers aged 34 years and younger were responsible for the bulk of these costs.
In the U.S., research from the IIHS and HLDI added more evidence to the assertion that cannabis legalization leads to an increase in crash rates. The most recent study from the group found an increase in injury and fatal crash rates in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in the months following the relaxation of marijuana laws.
Finding an Answer for Safer Roads
Government regulations and public awareness are crucial to reducing the risk of injury or death from driving after cannabis use. But, of course, enforcement also plays a vital role in deterring cannabis users from getting in the driver’s seat. The fear of a ticket or arrest is often enough to discourage people while revoking the licenses of unsafe drivers.
Unfortunately, THC is metabolized differently than alcohol by the human body, making it hard to detect. The good news is that companies like Cannabix Technologies Inc. (CSE: BLO, OTC: BLOZF) are developing innovative technologies that address this major challenge.
The Cannabix FAIMS Device – Source: Cannabix Technologies
Cannabix’s high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (“FAIMS”) breath detection system is being developed to detect THC in breath to selectively detect recent marijuana use at the point of care. This kind of device would be an ideal drug screening tool to aid law enforcement and other markets.
Cannabis rules and regulations are only starting to solidify after legalization trends swept both Canada and the United States. While governments are finally beginning to set legal limits, law enforcement still requires technology to detect recent consumption accurately and provide scientific evidence and hold drivers responsible. This is a significant market opportunity for the Company.
Cannabix Technologies Inc. (CSE: BLO, OTC: BLOZF) has been leading the way in developing these technologies to enhance public safety. By providing a relevant and convenient roadside testing solution, Cannabix is working to give law enforcement and employers the tools they currently lack to accurately determine recent marijuana use at the point of care. Combined with continued public education, such a tool could clear up a lot of the grey areas currently surrounding the issue of driving under the influence of cannabis and help keep our roads safer.
Visit the company’s website or to learn more.
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