A new study reveals that the risk for a road traffic accident is significantly greater following consumption of even very small amounts of cannabis. Evidence of cannabis use were found in 7% of drivers involved in fatal crashes by the French National Institute for Transport and Safety Research. These figures are comparatively lesser compared to drivers who consumed alcohol (21.4%).
The researchers have projected several alarming results such as small amounts of cannabis can double the risk. The risk of being responsible for a fatal crash increased with increase in blood concentration of cannabis. Larger doses infact triple the risk.
The study was conducted among 10,748 drivers involved in fatal crashes between 2001 and 2003. The figure was dwarfed by the 21.4% who tested positive for alcohol consumption. As expected, men were more often involved in crashes than women and more likely to test positive for both cannabis and alcohol.
Alcohol consumption was found to be responsible for fatal crashes (28.6%), surpassing those directly attributable to cannabis use (2.5%). In addition, increasing numbers of people who had taken various types of drugs were being treated following road traffic accidents, and other incidents.
In most of the instances, people who used cannabis also used alcohol or other types of drugs, aggravating the risk. It poses difficulties regarding the medical diagnosis, as physicians often get confused if the injury is related to a person's behaviour or to other drugs that may have been consumed.
In conclusion, it has been proved with authoritative evidence that driving under the influence of cannabis increases the risk of involvement in a crash. More public education campaigns are clearly indicated, particularly among young adolescent drivers.