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Editorial
December 1, 2020

Cannabis and Impaired Driving

Author Affiliations
  • 1Associate Editor, JAMA
  • 2Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit, Section of General Internal Medicine, Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2020;324(21):2163-2164. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.18544

Impaired driving is a major cause of preventable death worldwide. Alcohol-impaired driving accounted for a mean of 19% (range, 3%-34%) of the motor vehicle crash deaths in 20 countries in 20161; in 2018, 29% of the 36 560 crash deaths in the US were attributed to impaired driving.2By comparison, driving under the influence of cannabis was estimated to account for 8700 road traffic deaths worldwide in 2013.3 Alcohol and cannabis are often consumed together, and their combined use is associated with greater crash risk than the use of either substance alone.3 Notably, cannabinoids are the most commonly detected other drugs (besides alcohol) in fatally injured drivers (up to 15% in urban areas), and the prevalence is increasing.4,5

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