Trends in Cannabis Involvement and Risk of Alcohol Involvement in Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities in the United States, 2000‒2018



To assess cannabis and alcohol involvement among motor vehicle crash (MVC) fatalities in the United States.


In this repeated cross-sectional analysis, we used data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 2000 to 2018. Fatalities were cannabis-involved if an involved driver tested positive for a cannabinoid and alcohol-involved based on the highest blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of an involved driver. Multinomial mixed-effects logistic regression models assessed cannabis as a risk factor for alcohol by BAC level.


While trends in fatalities involving alcohol have remained stable, the percentage of fatalities involving cannabis and cannabis and alcohol increased from 9.0% in 2000 to 21.5% in 2018, and 4.8% in 2000 to 10.3% in 2018, respectively. In adjusted analyses, fatalities involving cannabis had 1.56 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.48, 1.65), 1.62 (95% CI = 1.52, 1.72), and 1.46 (95% CI = 1.42, 1.50) times the odds of involving BACs of 0.01% to 0.049%, 0.05% to 0.079%, and 0.08% or higher, respectively.


The percentage of fatalities involving cannabis and coinvolving cannabis and alcohol doubled from 2000 to 2018, and cannabis was associated with alcohol coinvolvement. Further research is warranted to understand cannabis- and alcohol-involved MVC fatalities. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print October 28, 2021:e1–e10.

This study was published in AJPH.