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Pot-Smoking Drivers Tied to Range of Road Accidents

Study finds third of these risk-takers had been in 1 or more crashes in previous 3 years

WEDNESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Marijuana use and reckless driving are interconnected, say Canadian researchers.

"We observed that dangerous driving behaviors are interrelated. Individuals scoring high on impulsivity or sensation-seeking scales demonstrated an elevated risk of driving under the influence of cannabis," study senior author Jacques Bergeron, a professor in the department of psychology at the Universite de Montreal, said in a school news release.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the association between driving under the influence of cannabis and a wide range of dangerous driving behaviors."

Bergeron and colleagues asked 83 men, aged 17 to 49, about their driving history and observed them in driving simulators. Men were chosen for the study because they more often engage in dangerous driving and driving under the influence of marijuana, the researchers explained.

They found that 35 percent of the participants had been involved in one or more road crashes with material damage in the previous three years. Thirty percent admitted to using marijuana, and 80 percent of those said they drove under the influence of marijuana at least once in the previous year.

"Our study found that men with self-reported DUIC (driving under the influence of cannabis) tend to be associated with an increased risk of being involved in a car accident," study author Isabelle Richer, a doctoral candidate in the psychology department, said in the news release.

The study was published recently in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about drugged driving.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Universite de Montreal, news release, March 2009

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