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posted by n1 on Wednesday September 03 2014, @10:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the ridin'-dirty dept.

As states liberalize their marijuana laws, public officials and safety advocates worry that more drivers using the drug will lead to a big increase in traffic deaths. Now The Guardian reports that it appears that unlike alcohol, drivers using marijuana tend to be aware that they are impaired and try to compensate by driving slowly, avoiding risky actions such as passing other cars, and allowing extra room between vehicles. In Washington State, there was a jump of nearly 25% in drivers testing positive for marijuana in 2013 – the first full year after legalization – but no corresponding increase in car accidents or fatalities. When adjusted for alcohol and driver demographics, a study by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation found that otherwise sober drivers who tested positive for marijuana were slightly less likely to have been involved in a crash (PDF) than drivers who tested negative for all drugs. “We were expecting a huge impact,” says Eduardo Romano, lead author of the study, “and when we looked at the data from crashes we’re not seeing that much.”

But another recent study that used similar data to assess crash risk came to an opposite conclusion. When Columbia University researchers compared drivers who tested positive for marijuana in a roadside survey with state drug and alcohol tests of drivers killed in crashes, they found that marijuana alone increased the likelihood of being involved in a fatal crash by 80% (PDF). But because the study included states where not all drivers are tested for alcohol and drugs, a majority of drivers in fatal crashes were excluded, possibly skewing the results. Also, the use of urine tests rather than blood tests in some cases may overestimate marijuana use and impairment. “We see the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington as a wake-up call for all of us in highway safety,” says Jonathan Adkins. "We don’t know enough about the scope of marijuana-impaired driving to call it a big or small problem.

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Thursday September 04 2014, @12:17AM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Thursday September 04 2014, @12:17AM (#89140) Journal

    I had a buddy that was a county mountie for years and he would just make 'em park the car and take the potsmokers home as long as all they had on 'em was personal because "I don't have to deal with guts and blood and dead bodies with the potheads, all they do is drive slow". He said the drunks were just the opposite, they would be flying low so when they had a wreck it was always a bloody horrible mess, all mangled metal and bodies. He said the only thing more messy than a drunk driving wreck were the "organ donor" crotch rockets that would decide they would Mr badazz and could outrun the cops, never failed they would be looking back to see where the cop was and run right into somebody or something and SPLAT, little bits of flesh all over the place.

    So I'd be more than happy to have pot legal everywhere even though I only take a drag MAYBE once a year (when I have one of my really bad migraine headaches the stoner down the hall will usually take pity and throw me a joint, it really seems to help a 'behind the eye light sensitive' skullsplitter) because the worse they are gonna do is drive slow and buy up all the chocolate donuts at the gas station.

    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by fadrian on Thursday September 04 2014, @01:00AM

    by fadrian (3194) on Thursday September 04 2014, @01:00AM (#89152) Homepage

    ... and buy up all the chocolate donuts at the gas station.

    And that's why many law enforcement officials want to keep it illegal!

    That is all.
    • (Score: 2) by velex on Thursday September 04 2014, @02:13AM

      by velex (2068) on Thursday September 04 2014, @02:13AM (#89165) Journal

      Ah, for mod points! Have an honorary +1 Funny.