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Legalization in Washington Reduced Alcohol-Related Car Crashes in Idaho

Driving

A researcher recently found that the number of alcohol-related crashes in Idaho decreased by 21% after the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington.

The findings suggest that alcohol and marijuana are substitutes because individuals will drink less frequently if marijuana is legally available. This reduces the number of drunk drivers which reduces the number of alcohol-related car crashes in Idaho.

The researcher found that:

  • For Idaho counties that directly border Washington, the legalization of marijuana reduced car crashes involving alcohol by 21%.
  • For Idaho counties one hour away from Washington, the legalization of marijuana reduced car crashes involving alcohol by 18%.
  • For Idaho counties three hours away from Washington, the legalization of marijuana reduced car crashes involving alcohol by 10%.
  • For Idaho counties six hours away from Washington, the legalization of marijuana was not associated with a reduction in car crashes involving alcohol.

Lawmakers can use data such as this to establishe drug and alcohol policies that will improve public safety.