In a recent story we took a look at how stoned drivers performed behind the wheel. Since Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana, other states are watching with great interest to see how impaired driving statistics would change. Anti-marijuana advocates have warned "drugged drivers" would lead to an increase of traffic fatalities on Colorado roads.

Anti-pot members of SAM recently pointed out Washington state drivers testing positive for marijuana had jumped by 33% right before the first dispensary opened its doors.

When we hear criticisms about stoned drivers, there's a bit of missing context. When testing for marijuana, law enforcement officers are only testing for the presence of marijuana metabolites, not for impaired motor skills or judgment. Metabolites can hang around longer in the body for days (or weeks) after the effects of marijuana have worn off.

Because every person metabolizes marijuana differently, all that can be determined by a positive test is that the driver had smoked pot some time in the last few days, or weeks. Not that their driving ability is impaired.

If an accident happens, a marijuana test doesn't really prove pot contributed to the accident. It just proves there's metabolites in the system.

via cannabisnowmagazine

Since Colorado legalized marijuana, panic over "drugged drivers" has escalated. In one example hyped by local and national media, a driver "high on pot" slammed into multiple police cars parked on the side of the highway. However, those stories left out the part about how the driver's blood alcohol level was off the charts (and likely the actual reason for the accident). But hey, alcohol is legal.

What may come as a surprise to the critics, road fatalities in Colorado are down in 2015 compared to 2014, and below the last 13-year average. This has been the safest year driving on Colorado roads since 2002.

Keep in mind, more Americans are driving more miles. Statistics in other states where marijuana has been legalized mirror Colorado's statistics.

We can't just point to legalized marijuana as the reason for the drop in fatalities. Cars are safer, safety features are better, and roadways are designed better. But we can say the legalization is not increasing traffic fatalities as anti-pot advocates suggest.