Risk Of “Stoned” Drivers Minimal With CA Prop 19
Joe | Aug 09, 2010 | Comments 9
Fortunately, there exists extensive evidence showing that marijuana, unlike alcohol, does not pose a major highway safety hazard, and that liberal marijuana laws have no adverse impact on highway safety.
Don’t expect evidence to sway the detractors of Prop 19. But the fact is that cannabis makes drivers slow down and become more cautious, while alcohol makes them aggressive drivers prone to increase the speed of their vehicle. Drivers under the influence of marijuana alone have much more time to react to a situation on the roadways than someone who is drunk. It’s true that we are talking about just a few seconds here; but those few seconds can be worth one life or more. This puts the lie to the myth that “stoned” drivers are dangerous.
So what will happen if California approves Proposition 19? Contrary to the claims of some opponents, Proposition 19 does not change current laws against driving under the influence. Nor would it bar testing of bus drivers or other safety-critical workers, as some have alleged; in fact, it explicitly protects the right of employers to address consumption that impairs job performance. Nor would it override federal drug-free work-force rules any more than did Proposition 215.
I’m not advocating driving under the influence of cannabis. This is about refuting the lies that our opponents conjure and disseminate in the hopes of derailing marijuana legalization.
Furthermore, passage of Prop 19 wouldn’t raise the propensity of people to drive under the influence of marijuana; that would still be just as illegal as it is now.
In fact, California ranks 14th in the nation in the rate of marijuana involvement in accidents, well behind states with tougher marijuana laws such as South Carolina, Indiana and Missouri. (Researcher Al) Crancer’s data also show that two of the state’s most pot-friendly counties, San Francisco and Santa Cruz, had zero pot-related road fatalities in 2008. All of this shows that liberal access to pot doesn’t necessarily mean more DUIs.
It is fear-mongering plain and simple for our opponents to claim an increase of death on the roadways if Prop 19 passes. It is also the height of dishonesty. We won’t let them get away with it.