Fatal accidents involving stoned drivers soared in Washington state

Mar 2012
50,009
32,895
New Hampshire
#1
"Fatal accidents involving stoned drivers have soared in the state of Washington since marijuana was legalized there, according to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. But it's difficult to determine whether a high-on-pot driver is too impaired to drive, according to a separate study from the same group. Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana more than doubled in 2014. Pot was involved in 17% of fatal crashes in Washington in 2014, up from 8% in 2013 -- the year before recreational marijuana was allowed there."

"The significant increase in fatal crashes involving marijuana is alarming," said Peter Kissinger, CEO of the foundation, which funds scientifically rigorous studies for the drivers organization. "Washington serves as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug."

"But coming up with a test to get impaired drivers off the road will be far more difficult than the blood alcohol tests used to test for drunk drivers, according to the group. While tests show the ability to drive gets worse as blood alcohol rises, laboratory studies show the same is not necessarily true with increased levels of THC, the main chemical component in marijuana, in the blood. One driver with high levels of THC might not be impaired, while another driver with very low levels can be impaired."

Fatal accidents involving stoned drivers soared in Washington since pot was legalized - May. 10, 2016
 
Likes: 2 people

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
51,483
36,896
Ohio
#3
I'm not convinced the marijuana alone is to blame for this.

frequent marijuana users can exhibit persistent levels of the drug long after use, while THC levels can decline more rapidly among occasional users. Nine states, including some that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use, have zero-tolerance laws for driving and marijuana that make not only the presence of THC in a driver's blood illegal, but also the presence of its metabolites, which can linger for weeks after use.

That makes no sense, said Mark A. R. Kleiman, a New York University professor specializing in issues involving drugs and criminal policy. "A law against driving with THC in your bloodstream is not a law you can know you are obeying except by never smoking marijuana or never driving," he said.

He said rather than switching to a new kind of law as AAA recommends, states should consider simply making it a traffic violation.

Studies show that using marijuana and driving roughly doubles the risk of a crash, Kleiman said. By comparison, talking on a hands-free cellphone while driving — legal in all states — quadruples crash risk, he said. A blood alcohol content of .12, which is about the median amount in drunken driving cases, increases crash risk by about 15 times, he said.

Driving with "a noisy child in the back of the car" is about as dangerous as using marijuana and driving, Kleiman said.

The exception is when a driver has both been using marijuana and drinking alcohol because the two substances together greatly heighten impairment, he said.

The foundation also released a second study that found the share of drivers in fatal crashes who had recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized it for recreational use in December 2012. From 2013 to 2014, the share of drivers who had recently used marijuana rose from 8 percent to 17 percent.

While it stopped short of blaming the crashes on that increase, AAA traffic safety director Jake Nelson said traffic fatalities went up 6 percent in Washington during that same period while the fatalities nationally declined.
Associated Press

I'd be willing to guess that some other factor besides marijuana is likely involved. I'm not sure the amount of fatal car crashes have gone up or just the amount of them involving marijuana.

A link to the actual study:

https://www.aaafoundation.org/canna...der-influence-or-involved-collisions-analysis

I don't advocate that people drive while impaired in any case, but the cannabis tests aren't the best way of determining that. And I certainly wouldn't revert back to making it illegal based on this.

Side note: watched an interesting bit on John Oliver's show about these "studies" and how the information is regularly twisted to come to conclusions that don't really exist in the science.

http://www.newsweek.com/john-oliver-last-week-tonight-scientific-studies-457343

[video=youtube;0Rnq1NpHdmw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rnq1NpHdmw&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop[/video]

Anyway, I'll reserve judgement on this one.
 
Likes: 6 people
Oct 2010
6,685
7,417
#4
"Fatal accidents involving stoned drivers have soared in the state of Washington since marijuana was legalized there, according to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. But it's difficult to determine whether a high-on-pot driver is too impaired to drive, according to a separate study from the same group. Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana more than doubled in 2014. Pot was involved in 17% of fatal crashes in Washington in 2014, up from 8% in 2013 -- the year before recreational marijuana was allowed there."

"The significant increase in fatal crashes involving marijuana is alarming," said Peter Kissinger, CEO of the foundation, which funds scientifically rigorous studies for the drivers organization. "Washington serves as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug."

"But coming up with a test to get impaired drivers off the road will be far more difficult than the blood alcohol tests used to test for drunk drivers, according to the group. While tests show the ability to drive gets worse as blood alcohol rises, laboratory studies show the same is not necessarily true with increased levels of THC, the main chemical component in marijuana, in the blood. One driver with high levels of THC might not be impaired, while another driver with very low levels can be impaired."

Fatal accidents involving stoned drivers soared in Washington since pot was legalized - May. 10, 2016
So, this study says that pot has increased the number of fatal crashes, and in the same breath says that there's no way to accurately test drivers for pot use.

Essentially, this is Reefer Madness propaganda.

Dismissed.
 
Likes: 7 people
Mar 2012
50,009
32,895
New Hampshire
#5
So, this study says that pot has increased the number of fatal crashes, and in the same breath says that there's no way to accurately test drivers for pot use.

Essentially, this is Reefer Madness propaganda.

Dismissed.
Yea I was curious as to how that got that figure. Do they routinely test everyone in an accident now for pot? I mean unless the vehicle reeks of it, why would they jump to that conclusion? Especially with texting and cell phones?
 
Likes: 1 person
Jun 2014
42,524
41,256
United States
#6
I disagree with the premise that legalizing marijuana leads to an increase in marijuana use. Marijuana has been illegal for as long as I can remember and I've never known of anyone who cared to smoke it having a problem obtaining it. Those who are arrested for marijuana possession can't possibly amount to the tip of the iceberg of people who use marijuana. I personally have known bankers, judges, doctors, law enforcement officers, psychiatrists, preachers and politicians who smoke marijuana in spite of it being illegal. Who the hell is supposed to have been sitting around waiting for it to be legalized before they tried it?

Nah... I reject the foundational premise of this argument.
 
Likes: 2 people
Nov 2010
22,886
14,592
#7
"Fatal accidents involving stoned drivers have soared in the state of Washington since marijuana was legalized there, according to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. But it's difficult to determine whether a high-on-pot driver is too impaired to drive, according to a separate study from the same group. Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana more than doubled in 2014. Pot was involved in 17% of fatal crashes in Washington in 2014, up from 8% in 2013 -- the year before recreational marijuana was allowed there."

"The significant increase in fatal crashes involving marijuana is alarming," said Peter Kissinger, CEO of the foundation, which funds scientifically rigorous studies for the drivers organization. "Washington serves as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug."

"But coming up with a test to get impaired drivers off the road will be far more difficult than the blood alcohol tests used to test for drunk drivers, according to the group. While tests show the ability to drive gets worse as blood alcohol rises, laboratory studies show the same is not necessarily true with increased levels of THC, the main chemical component in marijuana, in the blood. One driver with high levels of THC might not be impaired, while another driver with very low levels can be impaired."

Fatal accidents involving stoned drivers soared in Washington since pot was legalized - May. 10, 2016
I call bullshit, for the fact that you can't prove people were stoned, as mentioned by the article. It's just more people smoke pot, that doesn't mean they were driving stoned. But the anti-people like grasping on to these types of dishonest facts. Colorado has been legal for longer, and the results are very positive.

A lot of people driving stoned are very cautious and paranoid and drive the speed limit, or below
 
Likes: 1 person
Jun 2014
42,524
41,256
United States
#8
I call bullshit, for the fact that you can't prove people were stoned, as mentioned by the article. It's just more people smoke pot, that doesn't mean they were driving stoned. But the anti-people like grasping on to these types of dishonest facts. Colorado has been legal for longer, and the results are very positive.

A lot of people driving stoned are very cautious and paranoid and drive the speed limit, or below

Yeah, I can't imagine an unbiased study placing marijuana in the same category as alcohol regarding one's ability to operate machinery. Marijuana has long been used by athletes and musicians as a performance enhancing drug.
 
Likes: 1 person

HCProf

Moderator
Sep 2014
24,819
13,528
USA
#9
I disagree with the premise that legalizing marijuana leads to an increase in marijuana use. Marijuana has been illegal for as long as I can remember and I've never known of anyone who cared to smoke it having a problem obtaining it. Those who are arrested for marijuana possession can't possibly amount to the tip of the iceberg of people who use marijuana. I personally have known bankers, judges, doctors, law enforcement officers, psychiatrists, preachers and politicians who smoke marijuana in spite of it being illegal. Who the hell is supposed to have been sitting around waiting for it to be legalized before they tried it?

Nah... I reject the foundational premise of this argument.
You are 100% correct. Weed has been around forever and today there are MANY growers producing MJ. I have smoked my share back in the day, and still will occasionally..simply because I prefer it to booze or pills. I have never been impaired to the point I could not drive...but have called many cabs due to booze. We are getting closer to a sobriety check, such as a mouth swab and Michigan has laws that provide a 3 hour window for operating a car. I am wondering, in Washington, if edibles are the problem. Edibles are a totally different experience as far as the affects of MJ. It is easy to take in too much and the affect kind of creeps up on you. Ohio just passed medical MJ....it will be signed off in June by the Gov. They did this to see if it will slow down opioid abuse by offering an alternative.
 
Likes: 1 person

One

Former Staff
Dec 2006
10,992
9,517
----> X <----
#10
The reason they are finding more people who have been smoking weed is because they are looking for it now. But thc stayes in your body for up to a month, so it seems like it would be hard to make that link.
 
Likes: 1 person

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