Pubdate: Fri, 10 Feb 2012
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2012 New Zealand Herald


People who use marijuana before driving are nearly twice as likely to
cause a car crash as those not under the influence of alcohol or
drugs, according to a Canadian analysis of previous studies.

Experts at Dalhousie University in Canada reviewed nine studies of
more than 49,000 people involved in accidents on public roads
involving one or more motor vehicles, including cars, trucks, buses
and motorcycles. Marijuana use was confirmed by blood tests or

Researchers found drivers who had used marijuana within three hours of
beginning to drive had nearly double the risk of causing a collision,
especially those that were fatal.

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug worldwide and rates of
its use in drivers are increasing.

Some experts said education campaigns about the dangers of doing drugs
before driving wouldn't work.

"[People] will also need to be persuaded that they are at risk of
their cannabis use being detected," wrote Wayne Hall of the University
of Queensland in an accompanying editorial.

Hall said more research was needed to prove whether roadside drug
testing, as introduced in parts of Australia and the US, actually
prevents more drug-related car accidents.

The study was published in the journal, BMJ.
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