Legalizing recreational marijuana could boost crash rates, group warns

A traffic safety organization is warning that two recent studies suggest that legalizing recreational marijuana could lead to an increase in crashes, including deadly ones.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that studies by the Highway Loss Data Institute and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin point to an increase in crash risk in states that legalized the recreational use of pot.

Related: Studies offer conflicting conclusions on marijuana legalization’s role in car crashes, fatalities

The Highway Loss Data Institute – which, like the IIHS, is a nonprofit organization backed by insurance companies – reported in June that insurance companies received higher-than-expected collision claims in Colorado, Washington and Oregon after those states allowed people to buy marijuana for recreational purposes. The frequency of claims rose about 3 percent, compared with surrounding western states that continued to have laws on the books prohibiting…

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