High drivers are the safest | AspenTimes.com

High drivers are the safest

Dear Editor:

The Colorado Legislature seeks to deceive if they suggest that pot smokers are a danger on the roads. Drug warriors neglect to mention that several peer reviewed studies done by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that marijuana users have the lowest fatal accident risk of any category of driver. In fact, stoned drivers have a lower accident responsibility rate than totally sober individuals.

Notions about lunatic behavior of pot smokers behind the wheel first appeared in the 1936 movie “Reefer Madness.” Like every other accusation in this scurrilous film, the claim that cannabis causes reckless driving is a provable lie! Blood tests of dead drivers show that stoned drivers are actually safer on the highway than completely sober drivers.

When marijuana fatalities on Colorado’s highways are mentioned, the prohibitionists fail to mention that the pot smokers were only responsible for a tiny fraction of the accidents they were involved in. Most of the dead pot drivers were killed by drunks or distracted drivers. Cannabis users had a lower accident risk than teetotalers.

The Drugs and Accident Risk in Fatally-Injured Drivers survey concluded that marijuana has a “negative risk factor” for fatal highway accidents. A “negative risk factor” means that pot smokers have a lower accident rate than teetotalers. It is a scientifically verified fact that marijuana users are safer drivers than sober drivers.

Cannabis Odd’s Ratio 0.6 (0.3-1.0) P-value 0.065

“Drivers in whom only opiates were detected had an odd’s ratio of 2.4, whilst marijuana cases provided a relative risk of 0.6. Drivers in whom stimulants were detected gave an odd’s ratio of 1.4 whilst benzodiazepines gave an odd’s ratio of 1.0. By contrast the odd’s ratio for alcohol was 6.8.”

“It was of some interest that cannabis tended to show a negative effect on relative risk when other drug groups showed an increase. This phenomenon has also been seen elsewhere [Terhune et al, 1992; Williams et al, 1985]. The most likely reason probably relates to the over compensation of marijuana-using drivers on their driving skills. Over compensation may be caused simply by slowing down and avoiding adverse driving situations. These observations do not seem to be related to whether delta-9-THC or 11-carboxy-THC are measured in blood [Terhune et al, 1992; Williams et al, 1985].”

This is not theory or guesswork. The numbers are based on actual highway fatalities, drug tests and a determination of who was at fault. After accident responsibility was assigned to each driver it was found that marijuana users had the lowest accident rate of any category.

According to all previous research, very few stoned drivers are responsible for the accidents that kill them.

Ralph Givens

Daly City, Calif.

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