Study links legalized pot with increase in car crash claims

DENVER (AP) – An insurance study links increased car crash claims to legalized recreational marijuana.

The Highway Loss Data Institute, a leading insurance research group, released the results Thursday saying the study found collision claims in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon went up 2.7 percent in the years since legal pot sales began when compared with surrounding states.

Marijuana advocates question the study’s comparison of states with such varied populations.

Researchers accounted for factors such as the number of vehicles on the road in the study and control states, age and gender of drivers, weather and even whether the driver making a claim was employed. Neighboring states with similar fluctuations in claims were used for comparison.

Insurance industry groups have been keeping a close watch on claims when auto accidents across the country began to go up in 2013 after more than a decade of steady decline.

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