RENO, Nev (KOLO) In July 2017 it became official in Nevada; marijuana is a legal recreational drug.
Nevada's Department of Public Safety says it's always collected information as to when pot has been involved in fatal crashes. But at the request of law enforcement and the public, it's now making those numbers available in its annual State Roadway Fatal Numbers report for 2017.
“The person that is being tested who is not fatally injured, we would get that information from the law enforcement agency, who gets it from the lab where the blood was tested. If the person succumbs to their injuries that report would come from a coroner’s report,” says Scott Swain with Nevada Department of Public Safety.
Marijuana was involved in a total of 29 fatal accidents in Nevada in 2017.
In another new category called poly substance, in which more than one drug was detected, there were a total of 82 fatalities. Marijuana could be one of the drugs in this additional category.
"In 2017 there was a total of 311 deaths, and when you have, add all the categories together with alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs and poly drug use, you have 178 of those cases fell within that category, so well over 50-percent of the deaths," says Swain.
Swain says Nevada Highway Patrol troopers are receiving additional training to help further assess a driver's impairment during a field sobriety test.
“Focuses mostly on signs and symptoms that is under the influence any impairing substance including alcohol. But focuses on the seven drug categories that we concentrate on,” says Swain.
If a driver is arrested for failing a field sobriety test, he or she will be taken to jail, where a blood test can be done to detect the amount of alcohol or other drugs in the system.
In Nevada, two Nanograms of THC or higher means the driver is under the influence.
The statistics released by the DPS that list marijuana in the "Substance Involved Fatalities" report include either the driver, victim, or both in the fatal accident where any amount of marijuana was in the system.