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Highway Death Toll Warning Signs May Cause More Crashes, Not Less

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By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Showing highway death tolls on roadside message boards in a bid to curb crashes may actually cause more accidents, a new study suggests.

That’s because they distract drivers, the researchers said.

At least 27 states have used such messages. The new report focused on Texas, where officials decided to display highway death tolls one week of every month.

“People have limited attention,” said study co-author Joshua Madsen, an assistant professor in the School of Management at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “When a driver’s cognitive load is already maxed out, adding on an attention-grabbing, sobering reminder of highway deaths [can] become a dangerous distraction.”

For the study, Madsen and his team compared Texas crash data from January 2010 to July 2012, before the campaign, to August 2012 to December 2017 when it was underway. They also looked at weekly differences each month during the campaign.

The investigators found that there were 4.5% more crashes along the 10 kilometers (6.21 miles) of highway where death numbers were displayed during weeks when they were shown than in message-free weeks.

The increase is comparable to raising the speed limit 3 to 5 miles per hour or reducing highway troopers by 6% to 14%, previous research shows.

The findings, published April 21 in the journal Science , suggest that each year road fatality messages caused an added 2,600 crashes and 16 deaths in Texas.

That’s because this “in-your-face” messaging about road deaths temporarily affects drivers’ ability to respond to changes in traffic conditions, the study authors said in a university news release.

The researchers also found that the additional crashes associated with the messages increased as the death toll rose. The highest number occurred in January, when messages displayed the previous year’s total number of deaths.

The study also showed that crashes increased in areas where drivers required greater focus, such as heavy traffic or driving past multiple message boards.

According to study co-author Jonathan Hall, “The messages also increased the number of multivehicle crashes, but not single-vehicle crashes.” Hall is an assistant professor in the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto in Canada.

“This is in line with drivers with increased cognitive loads making smaller errors due to distraction, like drifting out of a lane, rather than driving off the road,” Hall added.

The researchers did find a reduction in crashes when the displayed death tolls were low and when messages were shown in areas where highways were less complex.

Overall, the findings suggest that states should consider other ways of raising awareness about road safety, according to Madsen.

“Distracted driving is dangerous driving,” he said. “Perhaps these campaigns can be reimagined to reach drivers in a safer way, such as when they are stopped at an intersection, so that their attention while driving remains focused on the roads.”

More information

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has practical tips to keep you safe.

SOURCE: University of Minnesota, news release, April 21, 2022

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Article: webmd.com

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Congress Under Pressure: Colorado Officials Push for Cannabis Banking Reform

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With the end of Congress’ session just around the corner, marijuana advocates, stakeholders and lawmakers continue to push for marijuana banking policy change.

This time, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) joined forces with Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera (D), Attorney General Phil Weiser (D), Treasurer Dave Young (D) and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Executive Director Stan Hilkey in urging congressional leaders to revisit the issue, reported Marijuana Moment.

In a letter sent on Monday to both House and Senate leaders, Colorado officials focused on the impact which a bipartisan marijuana banking bill will have in terms of public safety and industry equity,

“The lack of safe banking and financial services for the cannabis industry in the State of Colorado has become a dire public safety issue for highly regulated cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Original Post: benzinga.com

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New Data Shows Weed Legalization a Boon for Real Estate, New Jobs and Tax Revenue

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A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank shed light on the economic impact marijuana legalization has had in recent years, reported Marijuana Moment. Policy changes on the state level have resulted in increased commercial real estate demand, as well as a surge in tax revenues while creating more jobs.

According to an analysis from the Kansas City arm of the Central Bank, which collected data from several states under its jurisdiction, the Tenth Federal Reserve District, the cannabis industry has become one of the main economic sectors positioned to grow substantially in the coming period.

“Overall, the marijuana industry has had a significant effect on the economies of Tenth District states in the initial years after legalization,” the report said. “The emergence of the industry has …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Article: benzinga.com

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Will Missouri Legalize Cannabis? Amendment 3 Suffers Another Attack This Time by State NAACP

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Cannabis legalization efforts in Missouri are under attack once again, this time by The Missouri State Conference of the NAACP.

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The Missouri NAACP, breaking with chapters in the St. Louis area is urging its members to vote against Amendment 3 on the Nov. 8 ballot, reported the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch.

The group announced Thursday that it believes recreational marijuana legalization, as it is proposed under Amendment 3, would prevent minorities from entering the cannabis industry. 

“Marijuana possession should not be a constitutional crime. Additionally, for years now, Black people, other minorities, and people who have been criminalized by marijuana laws in the past have been unable to enter the medical marijuana market,” the Missouri NAACP wrote. “That is not right. In an effort to prevent the permanent exclusion of minorities from the cannabis industry in the state of Missouri, the NAACP calls upon every voter to reject the criminalization of marijuana possession, de facto racist regulation of the cannabis market, and the wool being pulled over our eyes by the supporters of Amendment 3.”

Under Amendment 3, the first “comprehensive” cannabis business licenses would be provided to existing medical marijuana companies. 

The state’s chapter highlighted that the amendment “does not increase the number of available full market licenses” and claims that giving “micro” business licenses to disadvantaged groups makes a “very limited” program. 

According to Nimrod “Rod” Chapel Jr., president of the Missouri NAACP, members agreed last week …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Source: benzinga.com

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