Marijuana retailers are expected to see a spike in sales on this 4/20 National Weed Day, but on a less high note, car crashes are also expected to increase today. A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that traffic fatalities were 12 percent more likely on April 20 after 4:20 pm, the time the celebration traditionally begins, than on the same day one week before or one week after.
The marijuana related increase in accidents has not yet been perceived by most Americans. A new survey by Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), found that over two thirds of Americans (68 percent) see no difference in road safety on April 20.
National Weed Day is particularly dangerous for young people according to the JAMA study. Fatal crashes were 38 percent more likely for drivers under the age of 21 years old. But the PCI survey found that over 50 percent of parents with teenagers at home said they have not spoken to their children about the dangers of driving high in the days leading up to April 20.
Americans rank marijuana use at near the bottom of potentially dangerous driving activity, the PCI poll found. However, 70 percent think the government should establish driving impairment standards for marijuana, and the same percentage support a field sobriety test for law enforcement to determine marijuana use.
The I.I.I.’s chief actuary, James Lynch gave a talk on public attitudes towards driving while high. The presentation can be found here.