Even though (state to state) the data is poor, and testing inconsistent, a quick, preliminary, unverified analysis of the NHTSA data, indicates a unexplained correlation …. between the increase of auto collisions, severe injuries / traffic fatalities, and use of medical marijuana.
Those who have promoted the legalization of marijuana have consistently called for science to be the determining factor, ….. claiming (though there are tens of thousands of scientific studies available that do not agree with their desires) they consistently claim that they cannot get the permission to do testing.
Before states and local jurisdictions in the U.S. go any further in legalizing marijuana for “medical reasons”, standards need to be established and a determination needs to be done as to whether we’re opening a Pandora’s box, one which cannot be shut!
Those states which allow the use of marijuana for medicinal reasons should NOT allow users to drive! THC is retained in the body much longer that alcohol and therefore has the potential of making drivers unable to safely operate motor vehicles for much longer!
STATES WITH “MEDICAL MARIJUANA” (MMJ) HAVE HIGHER PREVALENCE OF DRIVER FATALITIES INVOLVING DRUGS: 71%
1. 12/17 states (including DC) with “medical” marijuana” have 20% + traffic fatalities involving drugs
70.6% of states with MMJ laws have driver fatalities testing positive for drugs of 20% or greater
2. 13/17 states with “medical” marijuana” has 19% + traffic fatalities involving drugs (Arizona)
76% of states with MMJ have driver fatalities testing positive for drugs of 19% or higher
3. 3/17 states with “medical” marijuana” laws that have low rates of driver fatalities also have low rates of testing for drugs (Oregon, Rhode Island, Maine: not tested 79%, 41%, 100% ).
- Marijuana produced in states which allow use for medicinal purposes is “leaching” into neighboring states.
- Medical marijuana states do not allow insurance companies to access records; even police agencies are sometimes prohibited to find out who users are.
- Insurance rates for users are no higher than for non-users.
“The frequency of drug testing of fatally injured drivers in 2009 is shown for each State in Table 3 of the data.
States vary widely in the percentage of fatally injured drivers that are reported to be tested for drugs. In 2009, Maine did not report any tests, and Mississippi reported only 2 percent tested. A number of States report testing of more than 80 percent of fatally injured drivers. Data for Massachusetts shows unknown testing status for 44 percent of fatally injured drivers in 2009, while 17 States and Puerto Rico report no drivers with unknown testing status. National totals in both tables exclude Puerto Rico.
It is important to note that States may differ in their determination of the presence or absence of a drug. Differing State and local laws, policies, and practices regarding drug test practices can introduce inconsistencies.
States as well as jurisdictions within a State may test for different drugs, use different test types, and/or employ different concentration thresholds for determining a positive test result.
Another challenge for the collection of information about drugs in fatal crashes is the police accident report (PAR) itself. PARs vary across jurisdictions, creating disparities in reporting, resulting in possible variation in the reported number of crashes involving drugged driving.
Additional data limitations include the variation across jurisdictions in the availability of toxicology lab work by the time the FARS file is closed as well as the possibility of contaminated test samples resulting in unknown test results. Any national or State count of drug-involved crashes should be interpreted with these limitations in mind due to potential under-reporting in some States and over-reporting in others.”
Those wishing to view, study and challenge the data, please contact:
Bertha K Madras, PhD, Professor of Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 1 Pine Hill Drive, Southborough, MA 01772, (508) 624-8073, email@example.com