Study of the Day: Smoking Pot Doubles Chances of a Car Crash

More

A new meta-analysis of nine studies suggests that the consumption of cannabis impairs motor tasks that are important to safe driving.

main Kshishtof shutterstock_88579600.jpg

PROBLEM: Previous observational studies have failed to separate the effects of alcohol and marijuana use on the risk of vehicle collision.

METHODOLOGY: Researchers from Dalhousie University in Canada reviewed nine previous studies with a total sample of 49,411 people to see if the consumption of cannabis, the world's most widely used illicit substance, increases the risk of a motor vehicle collision. They focused on trials that involved crashes that took place on a public road and involved one or more moving vehicles, including cars, trucks, and motorcycles. They also concentrated on studies that included driver blood samples and direct self-reports.

RESULTS: The vehicle collision risk of people who smoke pot within three hours of driving is nearly double the risk of drivers who are unencumbered by drugs or alcohol. There is also a substantially higher chance of an accident for motorists aged 35 or younger.

CONCLUSION: Marijuana users are twice as likely to cause a car crash as sober drivers.

IMPLICATION: The consumption of cannabis impairs motor tasks that are important to safe driving.

SOURCE: The full study, "Acute Cannabis Consumption and Motor Vehicle Collision Risk: A Systematic Review of Observational Studies," is published in the British Medical Journal.

Image: Kshishtof/Shutterstock.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Hans Villarica writes for and produces The Atlantic's Health channel. His work has appeared in TIME, People Asia, and Fast Company.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Hunting With Poison Darts

An indigenous forest dweller in Borneo explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Hunting With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

The story of an action figure and his reluctant sidekick, who trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In