For Release on Receipt


Carole Walker
Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association

Nicole Ganley

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America


NEW POLL: In Light of 4/20, Americans Ignoring the Risks of Marijuana-Impaired Driving 

Despite study that shows U.S. traffic fatalities rise dramatically on 4/20 ("National Weed Day"), Americans don't think there is danger on the roads

Overwhelming majority of marijuana users who have driven under the influence of marijuana admit to doing so within two hours of using the drug 
Denver - A new survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults, conducted online by SurveyMonkey on behalf of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America ( PCI ), reveals that more than two thirds of Americans (68 percent) see no difference in road safety on April 20, also known as National Weed Day. This, despite the fact that a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that traffic fatalities were 12 percent more likely on April 20 after 4:20pm, the time the smoking celebration traditionally begins, than on the same day one week before or one week after. 

National Weed Day is even more dangerous for young people according to the study in JAMA, which shows fatal crashes were 38 percent more likely for drivers under the age of 21 years old. However, according to the PCI survey, more than 50 percent of parents with teenagers at home said they have not spoken to their children about the dangers of driving high in the days leading up to April 20. 
"Coloradans need to consider the safety and insurance consequences of driving under the influence of marijuana and make a 4/20 plan to celebrate safely," says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. "This poll demonstrates that public perception of driving high hasn't yet caught up with the reality that it puts you and everyone sharing the road at risk.  In addition, an impaired driving collision or ticket puts you at risk for losing insurance and paying higher premiums."

"Driving high is dangerous every day of the year, but the risk is even greater on April 20 when marijuana use is 'celebrated'," said Kelly Campbell, Vice President State Government Relations, PCI. "As states follow in Colorado's footsteps to approve recreational use of marijuana, Americans need to be better educated about the
impact of driving under the influence of marijuana. It is a hazardous activity that jeopardizes everyone's safety on the roads."

The survey also found that 20 percent of Americans say they have driven a car under the influence of marijuana, with 81 percent of those who have driven under the influence of marijuana admitting they drove either immediately or within two hours of using the drug.  
Driving high is illegal and research shows that it can impair judgment of time and distance, decrease coordination, and increase weaving. According to the   Highway Loss Data Institute collision rates were about 3 percent higher in three of the states that have approved the sale of marijuana for recreational use - Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. In 2016 there were 51 Colorado fatalities that involved a driver with active THC in his blood above 5ng, the legal limit ( *CDOT ). More than 17 percent of all DUI arrests from the Colorado State Patrol in 2016 involved marijuana.

Overall, no matter what time of the year, the survey found that Americans rank marijuana use near the bottom of potentially dangerous driving activity. 40 percent of Americans believe talking to passengers is more or at least as dangerous as driving high, and 61 percent said marijuana use while driving is less or as dangerous as talking on a handheld cell phone.

The survey did find that 71 percent think the government should establish driving impairment standards for marijuana, similar to the blood alcohol level standards set for drinking and driving. Additionally, the same percentage of respondents (71 percent) support a field sobriety test for law enforcement to determine marijuana use.  
Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization that represents property & casualty insurers in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.

 About PCI:

PCI (Property Casualty Insurers Association of America) is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write $216 billion in annual premium, 36 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 43 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 29 percent of the homeowners market, 34 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 36 percent of the private workers compensation market.
Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association | (303) 790-0216 |