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Study looks at impact of legal pot on car crashes

The summer road trip season is well underway now which means many Pennsylvania residents may be taking to the highways to visit sites and people all around the country. While the recreational use of marijuana is not legal in Pennsylvania, it is in the District of Columbia and eight other states including two in the northeast region, Maine and Massachusetts. With this in mind, people should be aware of this before they begin their journeys and pot adds one more substance to the mix of things that may cause driver impairment and eventually accidents.

Colorado led the way in the United States being the first state to allow pot to be used legally for recreational purposes in January of 2014. By this time, the Highway Loss Data Institute, a firm that performs research on insurance claims, was two years into a study that lasted until the autumn of 2016. This study took a look at many factors that contribute to automobile insurance claims.

After analayzing the results, it was found that in Colorado, Oregon and Washington, there had been a jump in the number of claims made for vehicle accidents since pot had been legalized in those states. The increase was more than 2.5 percent compared to states where pot was not legal during the study period.

Pennsylvania residents who are taking to the road this summer may need to keep in mind their right to talk to an attorney should an accident happen. This may give them the information they need to know how to protect their rights.

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

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