Marijuana Crash Fatalities Up 300% Over 10 Years?

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I support the legalization (or at least decriminalization) of marijuana. I am, by no means, a crusader on the topic. I don’t even use the stuff. My opinion is one based in logic, reason, experience, and a firm reliance upon the individual liberty of all to govern their own behavior.

When I saw the title on this link, I just had to look. I just knew there would be demagoguery. I wasn’t disappointed.

The study draws its conclusions from statistics on more than 23,500 drivers who died within one hour of a crash between 1999 and 2010. The toxicology tests were performed on victims from six states including: California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia. While alcohol related traffic fatalities remained steady at 40% throughout the decade, drug related deaths soared from 16% in 1999 to a whopping 28% in 2010.

Significantly, the study cites marijuana use as the leading culprit for the swelling number of drug related traffic deaths, contributing to 12 percent of 2010 crashes. This represents a 300% increase compared with four percent in 1999. The study qualifies the pot statistics by emphasizing that because marijuana stays in the blood for up to one week, therefore, researchers said, “the prevalence of non-alcohol drugs reported in this study should be interpreted as an indicator of drug use, not necessarily a measurement of drug impairment.”

Not surprisingly, experts warned that combining alcohol and marijuana dramatically increases a driver’s risk of death. “If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of the driver who is not under the influence of alcohol,” Li said. “But if the driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, their risk increases to 24 times that of a sober person.”

There is no way to know if the marijuana was altering or impairing the judgment of the drivers in these accidents. THC stays in your system for a week, and the metabolites stay in your urine for up to a month (depending on a multitude of factors). The presence of THC in the blood stream shows only that the driver was a user, not that they were high when they crashed.

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4 Responses to Marijuana Crash Fatalities Up 300% Over 10 Years?

  1. rj says:

    Not that they were high when they crashed… therein lies the problem, that is reasonable doubt every time

  2. Bman says:

    Drunk driving fatalities stats are often skewed by different anti-drinking groups. When you see reports from “alcohol related accidents”, that can mean a number of different things and not necessarily at all about drunk driving accidents. People with agendas always skew numbers.

  3. reboot says:

    There is not a statistic that you can’t make up.
    What do you want?

  4. rj says:

    Agreed regarding statistics, my point was unlike alcohol which is metabolized at a specific rate the amount of BAC can be specifically measured and a statutory max set and prosecute anything in excess. The lawyers have pretty much exhausted all possible defenses except reasonable doubt, which can be argued if test are not administered correctly or anything else they can argue which gives reasonable doubt.

    Maryjane is in your system a lot longer and at this point there are no specific test to quantify when the useage was. All the lawyers have to argue is any test only tell us the drug was used sometime in the past week, not if the person was still feeling or being affected by the drug at the time of the crash.

    Instant reasonable doubt, juries see a legal product used sometime in the last week, of which effects wear off within a few hours of last use, ergo ipso facto he could have indications of the drug in his system, yet was three of four days past any physical effects from the drug.

    Personally I can tell you, a stoned person should not be driving, anyone who argues a stoner is able to drive as good as a unstoned person I respond bullshit.

    Employers are going to have the same issues, they cant test for it for definitive proof stoner was using on the job when his delayed reactions caused some catastrophic accident thus, test to find any use any time and fired or not hired.

    Personally I dont care if it is legal or not, if you choose to use you dont legally drive and cant get a job in most careers.

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