By on December 18, 2011

 

The University of Colorado-Denver looked into fatalities in the 16 states that have legalized medical marijuana and unearthed perplexing results: The states saw an average nine percent drop in traffic deaths since their medical marijuana laws took effect.

“We went into our research expecting the opposite effect,” says study co-author Daniel Rees, a professor of economics at the University of Colorado-Denver. “We thought medical marijuana legalization would increase traffic fatalities. We were stunned by the results.” It even stunned Insurancequotes.com, which printed the story.

Several factors seem to influence this:

  • People who smoke dope drink less. The Beer Institute says beer purchases go down by an average of 5 percent after medical marijuana laws are passed.
  • Stoned people drive more carefully: A clinical trial conducted in Israel compared the simulated driving skills of people who’d consumed alcohol and those who’d smoked marijuana. The researchers found that alcohol caused these people to speed up their driving, while smoking marijuana prompted the drivers to slow down.
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59 Comments on “How To Reduce Traffic Deaths: Drive Stoned...”


  • avatar
    carbiz

    If we did not live in such an uptight world and if the law enforcement industry (lawyers, paralegals, law makers, police officers, police unions, etc.) did not have such high stakes in all of this, marijuana and perhaps a few other recreational drugs would be legalized. Just think of the taxation possibilities alone!
    For most municipalities and states/provinces, a few billion a year transferred from ‘the war on drugs,’ to education, welfare and other touchy-feely programs, while at the same time ADDING a few billion a year to the tax base, would eliminate the deficit, pay off the debt and create World Peace. (Maybe even bring back hardtops!)
    Well, maybe not quite. Anecdotally, in my 30 years of clubbing, I hate bars/clubs where a bunch of drunks stagger around, knocking things over, falling down, spilling their beer/drinks on other people, acting stupid, picking fights, etc. – and those are just the dyke bars!
    Give me a bar/club where the patrons are stoned on something: they are generally in a better mood, they don’t stagger or get messy, they don’t fight, they are either not drinking at all or if they do they are more careful about where they put it. I don’t suppose the bar managers are as happy without getting a piece of the action, but they must save money on the security bills and ambulance calls.
    Of course, in my latter example, when something goes wrong, they don’t usually just fall down – they pass out or have a seizure. Well, I guess you can’t have everything!

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      I would rather talk to a stoned person than a drunk one. Stoned people are just more interesting and intelligent than a drunk. Stoned people will also have memories of what they did under the influence. In fact I’ve never met a violent stoned person, nor been violent myself if I, um, ever was forced to inhale it as secondary smoke. Now I cannot say that for alcohol which in effect kills brain cells – now that’s a smart thing to over indulge in.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        Ye olde Chartt: Harm vs Dependence

        http://tinyurl.com/3ohds5l

        I don’t know if it should be legalized, but there’s no convincing reason I’ve hear to not decriminalize it. Maybe Ed Dan is right – I dont know…

        I’m way more scared of phoning/texting drivers, than even the drunk ones.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Take my oppinion with a grain of salt, I’m a libertarian at heart and I usually feel that if it were possible to eliminate all the things that governments try to stop (drugs, prostitution, other components of the black market economy) then governments would have figured out 1000 of years ago how to stop it. Since it can’t be stopped you might as well make it legal and then concentrate on making a little money off of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      In my time spent at various M/C clubhouses, I can only say AMEN! Give me a stoned 1%er over a drunk – anyday.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    “Dave’s not here.”

    I’ve said this about many things but… “legalize it and tax it.”

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      When CA went to tax pot the users cried foul since it was considered medicine. So forget the tax angle.

    • 0 avatar
      kamiller42

      Plus, any new tax revenues will be consumed by regulation costs and welfare by those who have lost a desire to work and just want to smoke out every day.

      • 0 avatar
        KGrGunMan

        @kamiller42

        Do you wanna get high right now?

        Have you ever really wanted to get stoned?

        I’m guessing you don’t really like marijuana and legal or illegal, like many people you would not smoke any regardless.

        Have you ever known someone who really liked marijuana?

        Even when illegal was it hard for them to get their hands on marijuana?

        So legal or illegal, like most people who really like marijuana, they will smoke it anyway.

        Law or no law, those like kamiller will not use marijuana.
        Law or no law one who likes marijuana will use marijuana.

        Anytime the government makes a law it can not enforce then it underminds it’s self and weakens it’s own power…

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I was a Combat Engineer in Iraq. My unit was tasked with Route Clearance…Driving around looking for IEDs. I always thought Marajuana would have mede us much better at it. Marajuana supposedly makes you drive slow and makes you paranoid…2 very useful traits for Engineers.

  • avatar
    orick

    Stoned people probably are more likely to stay home and watch tv than going out. Did they check to see overall traffic was less too?

    Marijuana is less harmful than cigarettes in every conceivable way from what I can see. But the whole tobacco industry is against it. And now alcohol industry may be against it too if beer purchase could go down. It’s tough being in the industries of sins. :)

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Smoking marijuana is competition to cigarettes so we can’t allow it b/c we need to trust the cigarette makers b/c they treated us so well and never mislead the public. Nothing like adding arsenic to your smoke consumable to make it taste better. Then increasing an addictive drug content (nicotine) to make your patrons want it even more. Yes – these people are who we should stand behind as they’ve helped America grow…tumors, lung disease, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Number6

        While I hate tobacco more than most, I am curious to hear your opinions about the arsenic in other foodstuffs like peanuts,Cognac, shellfish, coffee, etc. The dose, not the presence, makes the poison.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Everything in moderation… take the middle path.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        It’s been well known that long term smokers of cannabis have pretty serious lung and breathing problems. Our bodies really aren’t meant to function that way.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        Number6 – Cigarette companies added it to their products to promote a higher addiction. Are you saying that those other companies did the exact same thing? Or was arsenic present b/c of the manufacturing or source of the products (i.e. absorbed it from the environment where they grew)?

  • avatar
    MrBostn

    Years ago when I was in high school I drove slower (way slower) when “baked”. When drunk (not comatose-but “buzzed”) I took more chances and drove faster and more agressive.

  • avatar
    AKADriver

    There’s another possible effect here: people may be using marijuana instead of opiate-based pain killers. I’d bet the effects on driving form a drug like Oxycontin or Percocet are far worse.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    While I agree that stoned driving is MUCH safer than drunk driving, it’s still a form of intoxication and still more dangerous than sober driving, even if by a miniscule amount (motor skills testing has confirmed this). But of course as with any drug, alcohol included, the smallest measurable dose could produce impairment that is hardly measurable. The question is, how are we going to draw the line as to what level of THC in the system is acceptable while a driver is operating a vehicle?

    Assume hypothetically that pot is legal. How would legislators and law enforcement cope with setting levels on THC intoxication the same way that they do for alcohol via BAC? Current tests measure metabolites in the blood, but metabolites can exist up to 24 hours after one has smoked, and of course by that time the intoxication is no longer present.

    Of course, you could keep the standard at zero metabolites in the blood, but for a person who smokes and then drives 8 hours later, under the eyes of the law they are intoxicated even though they really aren’t.

    We need a new standard for measuring THC intoxication if we are going to make any progress with marijuana legalization.

    • 0 avatar
      jeremie

      Field sobriety test?

    • 0 avatar
      rwb

      Problem is, fat cells can only absorb so much THC. You can reach 100% absorption (i.e. as high as you’re gonna get) without difficulty, unlike alcohol where effects are cumulative. And if you’re a regular smoker, it’s in there for the long haul.

      Forget THC levels, I would say the line should be drawn when the operator of the vehicle is not driving safely.

    • 0 avatar

      On one hand, arbitrary standards like 0.08% blood alcohol content or X parts per million of THC metabolites don’t really measure impairment. They assume that the vast majority of the population will be impaired at those measured levels. On the other hand, field sobriety tests, testimony of police, etc. essentially makes the cop judge, jury and executioner. It’s not like cops don’t lie and make stuff up.

      What I would like to see is law enforcement concentrate on traffic safety rather than revenue. Forget about speeders, the majority of people ticketed for speeding are not driving dangerously. Forget the gotcha stop sign tickets, California stops never hurt anyone. Forget DUI checkpoints. Forget speed traps. Instead put cops on the road looking for dangerous drivers. You and I see the bad drivers. Cops can too.

      Where are you more likely to see a driver dangerously driving, from a speed trap at the side of the road, or out in traffic?

      As for driving stoned, the vast majority of regular marijuana smokers drive stoned. As long as you’re not a novice doper, smoking a joint behind the wheel isn’t going to impair you nearly as much as even being tired, let alone being drunk.

      It’s interesting. This data is just like cellphone use. As cellphone use has gone up over the past decade, the fatality rate has continued to drop. Also, as a group, cellphone users have fewer accidents than folks without cellphones.

      Don’t expect the data to convince the nannies. Their minds are already made up.

    • 0 avatar
      A Caving Ape

      I’ve been saying it for years: weed will be legal as soon as someone invents the field Bud-o-lizer

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Agreed. That’s all i’m gonna say about that…:)

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    Although I am all for legalization of marijuana, not sure about statistics like this.

    Supposedly drunks cause up to 30% of the accidents in CA, that means 70% or more are caused by non-drunks.

    We obviously need more drunks!

  • avatar
    rwb

    No s__t.

    I live in a decriminalized state- and in fact by some “official” studies the #1 highest city in the country.

    One behavioral quirk that likely plays a part in this: pot’s effects aren’t as universal as drink: when you’re drunk, you’re drunk, it might take some folks more drinks to get there, but drunk is drunk.

    Pot, on the other hand, is a whole different ballgame. Many people can smoke a fat reefer with no significant loss of fine motor skills or mental acuity, while others… can’t. Those who can’t, though, know it. In contrast to drinkers who aren’t really aware of their compromised skillset, if you suggest a drive to someone who is high enough that they cannot function properly, in my experience they usually feel much less comfortable with the idea than someone who’s had too many drinks.

    The majority of smokers I know, you would not know them stoned from sober. They’re the same person, and they can do the same things at an unchanged level of competence. They could not physically smoke enough pot to affect their driving in such a way as to become dangerous. The people who get too goofy to drive, know it.

    Of course, try telling this to a LEO.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      Right. I remember on many occasions far in the past, when I knew I was a little bit too intoxicated to be driving. Not only did I know I didn’t want to drive but I also DID NOT want to go anywhere let alone be in control of a vehicle.

      And I also remember times while only slightly buzzed and driving was fine. And if anything I felt my attention to the road was enhanced. (So somebody jump in and tell me I’m high to even think such a thing, and unless you are 100% sober blah blah blah…)

      In this century pot will be legalized. The old guard just needs to pass on first.

  • avatar
    jeremie

    Will no one defend the continued criminalization of marijuana?

    • 0 avatar
      philipwitak

      the feds will!

      three or four weeks ago san diego had several pages of weekly ‘reader’ ads published, each sponsored by a different medical marijuana purveyor. last week, i only found a single resource that was still in business.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Only those who profit from it being illegal. And there are many who do.

      But the question we have to ask ourselves is how much longer do we want the drug gang violence to go on? People are getting killed in Mexico, the government is fighting a losing battle and it could all go away if we decriminalized marijuana. Of course, we would put a lot of people out of work if we did so.

      To be sure, there are negatives to consuming marijuana. But they are far outweighed by the assualt on our civil rights, the dirty money and the violence the pursuit thereof causes and the sheer hypocrisy of it being illegal while alcohol is not.

    • 0 avatar

      Sure, those that profit the most in terms of money and power:

      Mexican drug cartels
      Private prison operators
      Prison guard unions
      DEA
      Local law enforcement who keep seized property
      Treatment centers with court system contacts

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    A little off topic, but, mkirk, thanks a lot for your service to your country. My Dad died 3 years ago at 85. He was in the Army Corps of Engineers in WWII, and I will always be proud of his service.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The research is somewhat flawed. Comparisons should have been made to other states that don’t have medical marijuana laws. Without a control group, these sorts of comparisons are sloppy, and traffic fatalities fell substantially across the US over the same period. http://ftp.iza.org/dp6112.pdf

    That being said, they do have a point. If a driver is going to behave in less-than-optimal manner, then it would be better if they erred on the side of caution by slowing down. (This is, incidentally, what happens to many drivers who use phones, which could explain why their fatal crash rates are below average.)

    It would obviously be better if they were always conservative, phone-free and sober. But it seems that many drivers aren’t capable of doing all of those at once. At the end of the day, it’s humans who drive cars, and humans aren’t exactly known for being perfect.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      Even the tiniest bit of practical training and experience (= confidence?) before getting one’s license would help overcome some of that imperfection. Maybe some track time and skid pad for the kiddies? My young self would have eaten that up!

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Even the tiniest bit of practical training and experience (= confidence?) before getting one’s license would help overcome some of that imperfection.

    That would be great if it was true. Except that it isn’t.

    Maybe some track time and skid pad for the kiddies?

    If you want to increase crash rates, then you should support that idea. However, if you’d like to have more sensible goals and lower them, then you should support graduated licensing and higher driver ages, instead.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Pch101

      Love how you changed your anti advanced drivers training stance from

      “There is an abundance of data that shows that drivers that take courses…”

      to “…if it was true. Except it isn’t.”

      Glad I could help but what do you mean by

      “…graduated licencing and higher driver ages, instead.”

      If we do away with the very young and old, it would get rid of a few bad drivers but since we’re stuck with them, what would it hurt by teaching them a few advanced and or life saving skills like you would anyone that operates machinery that can kill or maim?

      “If you still want to increase the crash rates…”

      How does sending my youngest daughter to a defensive drivers course increase the likelyhood of her crashing? Hope this helps

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH0Lkh8muTg

      Most people tend to panic in skid situations if they’re not used to it. Women under 45 years old are 300% more likely to get into a serious injury accident when it rains vs. dry in a study of 23,000 police accident reports in a Purdue University study. Women over 45 are 400% more likely so what would a little time spent with an instructor on a wet skid pad hurt? Men or women? Of any age? You?

      Do you STILL have no answer to how advanced drivers training makes police, ambulance or even limo drivers a greater danger to themselves and the public?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Love how you changed your anti advanced drivers training stance

        I have to question your literacy skills. The position that I have expressed is consistent — training doesn’t work.

        And in any case, I didn’t just make it up. I’m summarizing the research on this topic that consistently shows that it doesn’t work.

        How does sending my youngest daughter to a defensive drivers course increase the likelyhood of her crashing?

        Track training promotes overconfidence. Drivers who are overly confident crash more than the average. Crashing is bad.

        I realize that this is hopeless, but here is an example of just one study that explains not only why you are wrong, but why you and people like you keep stamping your feet and insisting (incorrectly) that you’re right: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/7295/2/7295.pdf These myths that you hold onto are commonplace, but a myth is still a myth.

        And mind you, the conclusions of that particular study are consistent with the other research in the field. It isn’t an outlier that reflects an exception to the rule, but is consistent with the norm.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Pch101

      The study you quote mostly focuses on high school driver’s training and not actual defensive driving or skid control lessons behind the wheel per se. Now when it does look at actual wet tarmack, advanced training, it suggests that subjects forget their training and revert to their original tendencies over time but can unfortunately, keep the confidence as they lose those skills. This suggests that people need to keep in training the same way cops keep returning to the gun range to stay up or brush up on their skills. Also depends on how well they studied it, learned it and practiced it in the first place. IE, did they know it inside out and backwards at one time or was it the equivalent of a weekend at a kiddie go-kart track?

      ‘Comfort’ behind the wheel 100% of the time in all situations is different than psychological confidence and therefore overconfidence. That’s what you’re confusing.

      Careful and or slower driving, stoned or not, doesn’t mean someone won’t do something stupid in front of you or nature won’t throw you a curve ball. Just means possibly a lesser severity of impact but the more skills, experience and comfort you have to avoid accidents all together… There’s no data base for accidents avoided by better than average drivers, miles driven per near miss or the their skill level/training. People like me that are self taught throw off studies by the apologists because we are lumped together with the unskilled or overconfident. Also it’s not speed but the difference in speed that causes accidents.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The study you quote mostly focuses on high school driver’s training and not actual defensive driving or skid control lessons behind the wheel per se.

        You obviously didn’t read it and you didn’t comprehend what you did read.

        Of course, your failure to accept the material illustrates the problem with driver education — you bloody people don’t want to learn anything, which makes you utterly impossible to train.

        I could teach you good driving habits all day long, but you will refuse to accept them. I could show you how to carry them out, but you wouldn’t bother. I could show you reams of data that illustrate why you should listen, but you won’t.

        And that is, incidentally, exactly what the study in the link will tell you. It’s hard to educate people like you who grossly overestimate their skills. Driver education doesn’t work because people don’t want to be educated, and during an emergency, they’ll probably forget it, anyway.

        Dedicating money and resources on trying to get you to modify your behavior is a useless waste of time, energy and money. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, and the roads are filled with horses who aren’t thirsty.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Do you really think the state of Georgia sent 18,000 high school students to a Skip Barber or equivalent? The study admits that students that passed the classes obtained their licenses younger than they really should’ve and this led to more accidents than the control group.

      These sometimes admittedly flawed studies you quote of former students of advanced driver and emergency training conclude that people like YOU are way too stubborn and hard headed and quickly revert to their old bad driving habits but may retain some cocky overconfidence because of it. IE, they know just enough to make them dangerous… This and this alone is a what makes them an added risk plus renders said training a waste but I don’t consider them ‘advanced drivers’ in the least and definitely not in true sense of the word… just you!

      You lump everyone that’s ever put on helmet or fire suit into the same catagory to suit your agenda. Really you’re saying that such advanced training would be a waste for YOU and make YOU a worse driver which is true without a doubt! Everything you’ve said up to this point proves this!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Do you really think the state of Georgia sent 18,000 high school students to a Skip Barber or equivalent?

        As I mentioned, and was noted in passing in the study, advanced courses have also been the subject of scrutiny, and they don’t work, either.

        Again, you’re only proving the point of the research. People like you are impossible to teach. The facts can be presented to you, and you will still reject them because you can’t tolerate the idea that you’ve been wrong.

        You’re not alone. Multiply you by millions of people just like you, and the result is the same — a collection of people who absolutely, positively can’t be taught.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You keep apologizing for yourself and your hard headedness. Yes you would be more dangerous following advanced training or shortly thereafter but I’m not talking about you or the masses. OK, your heart’s not in it, I get it already but I’m talking about people eager and willing to learn and live it. Not just drivers checking off a box like it’s a humanities requirement and moving on to the next thing. Maybe driving is an obsession for some of us and you and your kind will never understand this. Keep in mind driving is the most dangerous activity any of us do. Can be fun or drudgery but why not master it either way? You may never be but in a situation that will test what you’re made of but you never know… It’s like an insurance policy you may never cash in but you’re otherwise insured every other way come Sunday.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    This seems rather counter-intuitive to me. Regardless of your choice of intoxicant anything that slows your reaction time just cannot be helping with the complex task of driving.

    Normal things like having the radio on in the car can be distracting enough, add a massive buzz from some Hindu Kush and the two can only add up to potential disaster. Being paranoid while driving slowly still doesn’t make up for the fact you are not experiencing the same reality other drivers and situations demand.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Regardless of your choice of intoxicant anything that slows your reaction time just cannot be helping with the complex task of driving.

      Crashes aren’t caused by delayed reaction times. Crashes are caused by activities that force drivers to rely upon their reaction time to extricate themselves from situations that they should have avoided in the first place.

      Before the 55 mph speed limit was increased, there was a great deal of fear that the increase would produce carnage. The argument: greater reaction times, combined with higher crash speeds, would kill more people.

      That seems perfectly logical, assuming that the need for higher reaction times leads to more crashes. But as it turns out, they don’t, because drivers adjust other behaviors to compensate for their speeds (and because drivers don’t necessarily speed up when limits are increased.)

      If stoned drivers generally become slow and passive while drunk drivers generally become aggressive and erratic, then stoned drivers should produce fewer crashes than would the drunken ones, as erratic behavior is far more hazardous. From a safety standpoint, low speeds and excess caution are far better than are high-speed risk taking.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        geo:” Regardless of your choice of intoxicant anything that slows your reaction time just cannot be helping with the complex task of driving.”

        pch:” Crashes are caused by activities that force drivers to rely upon their reaction time to extricate themselves from situations that they should have avoided in the first place.”

        I think we’re saying the same thing. Reaction times are what keeps people out of accidents.

        Sadly, I know from personal experience that driving slowly and excessively cautiously still will not prevent one from having an accident.

        Or maybe I’m just special…

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I think we’re saying the same thing.

        No, we aren’t.

        It isn’t about having reaction time. It’s about avoiding situations that require the need to use reaction time.

        If a stoned driver drives more slowly, then he is less likely to need to use his reaction time than would a drunk driver.

        A drunk driver not only has lower reaction time, but he also is more likely to put himself into harm’s way. It’s the sticky situations caused by the aggressive driving that cause the wrecks.

        If improved reaction time reduced accidents, then teenagers would be the best drivers on the road. But it’s the opposite; they’re the worst. They get into trouble more often.

        Once you’re in serious trouble, evasive action is unlikely to save you. It’s best to avoid getting into trouble in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        rwb

        PCH: I understand that applied to a driver that represents your statistical median, training them to respond properly in an emergency (which equates to driving in an unsafe manner when there is no emergency,) will make them less averse to driving in an unsafe manner.

        But since not everyone is the same, what about a very cautious person? Will someone who naturally avoids danger at all costs change their behavior if they receive driver training? Do you (or these studies,) propose that person will suddenly become more comfortable with dangerous risks?

      • 0 avatar

        It isn’t about having reaction time. It’s about avoiding situations that require the need to use reaction time.

        How much driving doesn’t require reaction time? Even driving on a ruler straight interstate highway at 73mph requires constant corrections at the wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Do you (or these studies,) propose that person will suddenly become more comfortable with dangerous risks?

        There have been studies of drivers who receive skidpad training that find that they become worse. The skidpad training makes them more confident, which encourages risk taking, which leads to more crashes. There was also a study of SCCA drivers who showed that they had higher crash rates on the street and had more moving violations than average.

        One of the problems with advanced training is that drivers tend to resort to their normal behaviors during a moment of crisis. So not only do they get themselves into trouble more often because of the excess confidence, but they aren’t necessarily any better at dealing with it once they do get into trouble. It would have been better had they just chilled out and not pushed their limits in the first place.

        There are some studies that show that fleet drivers can benefit from training. But those vary; other studies show no benefit or too little benefit to justify the cost.

        If there is hope for driver training, it’s in the latest effort to provide courses that teach environmental awareness and non-aggression. The emphasis of these courses is on getting drivers to reduce their confidence levels so that they don’t feel that they are above-average or invulnerable, not on skills training behind the wheel. We’ll see if those end up working better than what we have done before.

      • 0 avatar
        rwb

        As far as I know (and I have taken one,) defensive driving courses are more focused on exactly what you mentioned than car control. Much time is (was) spent preaching keeping as much space as possible around your car, and avoiding a situation where advanced car control is necessary.

        I don’t know what these trainees described in your studies learnt in their lessons, but if it was similar to my experience, it doesn’t sound like what was taught.

        Another scenario: everyone receives advanced training and everyone drives a little more dangerously but with a high level of skill. What happens?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Much time is (was) spent preaching keeping as much space as possible around your car, and avoiding a situation where advanced car control is necessary.

        They can preach all day long. But if nobody listens and incorporates those lessons into their driving styles, then it doesn’t matter.

        The problem with driver education hasn’t been with the curriculum, but with the students. People become convinced that they are better than average, and they don’t learn anything. The lessons of cautiousness are soon forgotten, so the courses don’t have long term effect.

        The latest variant of courses that may be effective focus on reading traffic and reducing the self image of the driver. The focus is on reducing the student’s ego, because attitude is the primary obstacle to driver training.

        everyone receives advanced training and everyone drives a little more dangerously but with a high level of skill. What happens?

        That’s simple — they crash more often.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Let’s leave mountain ranges out of this!

  • avatar
    Lampredi

    The researchers found that alcohol caused these people to speed up their driving, while smoking marijuana prompted the drivers to slow down.

    If that means “to slow down” as in driving below the speed limit, that’s an argument for banning marijuana – there are way too many slow drivers out there as it is :P.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I don’t see any mention of rates changing in the news item, just that the number of deaths fell 9%. What happened to the number of fatalities per million vehicle miles? I can only speak for California, but our economy imploded as marijuana was legalized, not that there was a causal relationship. Deaths would be down because traffic is down anyway. Trips at times that used to be gridlock are now merely high traffic, and times that used to be high traffic are now smooth sailing. We have plenty of marijuana users crashing in bizarre ways when they do drive too. What is the nationwide death total doing? We use less oil now, but it doesn’t have anything to do with CAFE. We have less economic activity, leading to less driving, saving oil. People will cheer for stupid policies right up until it is their job killed to clean up the environment and their government cheese that doesn’t get made or shipped.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Many years ago, back in the early 1980s, I believe, residing in Modesto, California, I read a news story in the local newspaper about a recent California-state study using the California Highway Patrol as the study’s source and that agency, in turn, used various sources such as hired assistance from various universities, etc.

    The far-reaching lengthy study was released to the public with little fanfare and little media coverage.

    I recall the MAJOR conclusion and the quote from the CHP head bureaucrat conveyed his surprise…

    after a LENGTHY investigation, etc. those involved with the study were unable to prove even ONE incident wherein a single fatality could be attributed solely to a driver being influenced by marijuana’s effects alone.

    More than ample incidents of alcohol and other substances being involved but pot alone?

    Nope.

    That does not absolve pot from not being an attributing factor but pot alone?

    Educate, disallow toking and driving out of sheer principles.

    But tax the damn stuff, encourage ADULT rational use and set the parameters for use.

    Perhaps pot-only “bars” where short naps are allowed if needed.

    Get the corporations out of We, the Peoples affairs.

    Order the jack-booted thugs and their immense bureaucracies to back off.

    Order the self-centered self-serving agents of corporate USA to back off.

    Legalize, attempt to keep the growing, distribution and sale channels minimized to allow the maximum number of common folks to reap some income…. I would hope.

    Tax at a fair rate and make it easy to pay the tax and advertise to encourage those involved to collect and forward the tax as a valuable public service… make it the patriotic thing to do with large rewards for those able to lead authorities to those ignoring the tax that would assist even those not partaking of the pot.

    YES!!! MANY things to be worked out for the good of We, the People but it could be done…

    just boot the vested interests out the door!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    A few points:

    1. Correlation does not necessary imply causation.

    2. Must not have included my state in the analysis…I read recently (forget the source…sorry!) that in the state of Michigan, which legalized Medical Marijuana in 2008, I believe (same year we elected our current president…talk about correlation and causality! But I digress….) anyway, Michigan’s driving fatalities INCREASED 8% year over year from 2010 to 2011…

    3. As a teen, I frequently,erm…..arrived stoned. Also, drove while under the influence. Always got home safe, never killed anyone, by the grace of God….but my experiences anecdotally confirmed that I was a (marginally) safer driver while sparked up than I was while dranked up…..

    4. As a person who SURVIVED such foolish behaviour…I wouldn’t recommend it.


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