The 4th annual review of the impact of pot legalization on Colorado was recently issued by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA). The review examines the effects of legalization in seven areas, the first of which is the impact on impaired driving and traffic fatalities.

The bottom line is that marijuana-related traffic deaths “increased 48 percent in the three-year average (2013-2015) since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the three-year average (2010-2012) prior to legalization.” The report notes that during the same period, all traffic deaths increased 11 percent.

Colorado also saw an increase in the percentage of marijuana-related traffic deaths: in 2009 only 10 percent of  operators involved in traffic fatalities tested positive for marijuana. By 2015, “that number doubled to 21 percent.”

THC Traffic Deaths Colorado 2015In raw numbers, RMHIDTA identified 115 THC-related highway deaths and broke those deaths down as follows:

  • 75 were drivers
  • 20 were passengers
  • 17 were pedestrians
  • 3 were bicyclists

More details about the effects of THC and impaired driving are available in the report, but the bottom line is that the legalization of THC products has resulted in an increase in the number of incidents of impaired driving and, tragically, the number of THC-related fatalities on Colorado roads.