Marijuana & driving: Experts struggle to find ways to measure, assess impairment

 The number of fatal Washington crashes involving drivers with marijuana in their system rose to 79 last year — more than double that of 2012 when voters legalized its recreational use.

In Yakima County, however, the number has remained essentially unchanged at an average of about five a year, according to the state Traffic Safety Commission.

But experts caution the statistics focus only on fatal crashes and don’t provide a complete picture of the impact pot is having on road safety.

When issuing impaired driving citations, most police agencies don’t differentiate between alcohol, pot or other drugs. They’re simply categorized as DUIs.

As a result, data regarding marijuana- impaired drivers isn’t complete. No statewide data is kept on serious injury accidents involving marijuana because of reporting inconsistencies by local police agencies, according to the safety commission.

Also, researchers are studying if current methods of testing for marijuana impairment and whether...

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