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States with legal pot see more accident claims

Now that California has joined the ranks of the states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, residents in the state may want to pay extra attention to what that may mean for their safety and the safety of their loved ones when on the road. Just as drunk drivers are known to pose serious risks to innocent people, so too can drivers who are impaired by marijuana.

Just how big of a problem is drugged driving? A recent report gives a glimpse into how legalizing pot may be impacting life via automobile insurance claims. A study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute compared claims in Oregon, Washington and Colorado to those in neighboring states where pot was not legal at the time. The study ran from January 2012 through October 2016. Those three states legalized marijuana in 2014 and 2015.

Overall, the three states with legalized recreational use of pot saw more accident insurance claims than those where pot was not legal. The difference was as much as 2.7 percent. Adjustments were made when comparing different states to account for variances in population, weather, driver demographics and more.

This early peek into the realities of drugged driving with marijuana being legal should put California residents on alert. Talking to an attorney after a crash may help to seek compensation if an accident is in fact caused by a driver who was under the influence of pot.

Source: NBC29.com, "Insurance study ties legal pot to boost in car crash claims," Solomon Banda, June 21, 2017

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