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Study says fatal crash rates increase on 4/20 holiday

Though Kentucky is not one of the states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, residents should know about the impact that the legalizing trend has been having on drivers. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that on April 20, a self-proclaimed holiday started by marijuana users in the early '90s, there tends to be a slight increase in the number of fatal car crashes in the U.S.

With no police data on drug testing, the study could not specify how many of the crashes involved marijuana, but the connection is far from a tenuous one since marijuana use will impair driving. To arrive at their conclusion, researchers analyzed U.S. government crash data between 1992 and 2016, comparing the number of deaths on 4/20 to the number in the preceding week and the week after it. Most states saw an increase on 4/20: about 12 percent overall, or roughly 142 additional deaths.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that linking marijuana with specific crashes is hard because many drivers combine the drug with alcohol. Earlier studies have shown a clearer connection, though. For example, one survey found that among college freshmen, it's more common to drive after smoking marijuana or to ride with someone smoking it than it is to drive while drinking alcohol.

Driving under the influence of drugs is a form of negligent behavior, so when pot users cause a car collision, they could be held financially responsible for the resulting injuries to their passengers or occupants of other vehicles. People who have been harmed in this manner might want to have an attorney's help in seeking appropriate compensation for their losses.

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