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New study: alcohol is 10 times more deadly than cannabis on the road

Sara Tiradossi

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Researchers found alcohol is about ten times more likely to cause a fatal crash than cannabis, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS-One.

Scientists at the University of Lyon examined drug tests from drivers involved in more than 3,600 auto crashes during 2011, to find out the relative risk of responsibility for a fatal accident linked to driving under the influence of cannabis or alcohol, and also compare the results to a similar study carried out in France between 2001 and 2003.

The new results showed “drivers under the influence of alcohol are 17.8 times more likely to be responsible for a fatal accident,” compared to sober drivers. Drivers under the influence of cannabis were 1.65 times more likely to be responsible for causing a fatal accident. The study concluded “alcohol remains the main problem in France.”

Earlier this year, another researcher examined cannabis and alcohol impairment on the road and found THC-impaired drives had a 5 percent greater risk of crashing, compared to sober drivers. Alcohol-impaired drivers under the legal limit (.08) had a 225 percent greater risk. Texting drivers were 310 percent more likely to crash.

Opponents of legalization have long argued legalizing cannabis would mean a significant danger on the roads, but the most recent research on the topic confirms it is indeed safer than alcohol. Besides numerous developments during the almost ten years that separate the present study and the one carried out in 2001–2003, the study indicated “the prevalence of drivers responsible for causing fatal accidents while under the influence of alcohol has remained remarkably stable.”

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New study: alcohol is 10 times more deadly than cannabis on the road