A couple years ago an article appeared on the internet that stated "Fatal Car Crashes Involving Pot Use Have Tripled in U.S."
I personally studied and debunked the article and posted my thoughts around the web, because I was sure that true or not (which is not a true statement), that prohibitionists would jump on a repeat it...
Boy was I right a google search showed it has been reposted on the internet no less than 305,000 times.
I was curious to see exactly who was behind this spread of manure in cyberspace. What I discovered does not surprise me, over one third of those posts are on Law office web sites.
Why would Lawyers want to spread this obviously untrue scare tactic to the masses?
Easily answer they are getting revved for the next big legal niche, blaming pot smokers for every accident, so they can harass and sue them like they do alcohol users.
Then there are the other Lawyers that know it's made up bullshit and they are getting ready to save the potheads from themselves for only $10,000 dollars a bust.
Only now there is a new posting re-propagating across the web that says "Fatal Car Crashes Involving Pot Use Have Doubled in U.S."
In this special fantasy version the percentages have been altered to read an increase from 12% to 28%, and the rest of the article is exactly the same, word for word. Why would anyone do this? Because my debunking showed that if 20% of Americans smoke pot and therefore always test positive, that statistics of 1 -12% actually prove that Pot smokers are safer drivers.
Now a year or so later, the original posts of the article have all been taken down, but the copies and the statistics still being quoted by "you know whos" Please read the debunked study below...
Today, we examine whether statistics are facts and if people assume too much from too little facts.
A deconstruction, Last year a edited article was posted about a study that claimed Fatal Car Crashes Involving Pot Use Have Tripled in U.S.
We know of course that "prohibitionists" will be quoting this as fact for years, so lets kill it now.
The poster of the article claimed based on that fact that Marijuana is Poison and that Marijuana smokers are Murderers.
Knowing none of those thing to be true I slammed the article and the preposterous conclusions.
Let's deconstruct this article and see what it really says...
The article begins:The legalization of marijuana is an idea that is gaining momentum in the United States, but there may be a dark side to pot becoming more commonplace, a new study suggests.A suggestion is not a Fact...
Lets start with why would Marijuana be included in a toxicology report? It is not toxin or poison!
The only reason it's tested for is because it's illegal.
So the article begins with an assertion that it is about the "United States"
A little lower and we find:
study drew its conclusions from crash statistics from six states that routinely perform toxicology tests on drivers involved in fatal car wrecks -- California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia.So in fact the study is not about the United States, but only six of the States, is that important?
Yes for several reasons, First a statistical result, never defines anything beyond the sampling for that study.
So why were these six states chosen?
Were the other states left out because their numbers didn't show the same comparison?
We all know that every state routinely perform toxicology tests on drivers, involved in fatal car wrecks, but of course this study only involves dead drivers.
So if it was a fatal accident in which the driver lived, it was not counted.
So In order to be able to say that something has tripled, you have to start with a very low figure,
so perhaps these states were chosen because they had low rates in 1999, compared to the rest of the Union.
Nowhere in the article does it say if accidents in general are up or down.
If its based strictly on people testing positive in the toxicology reports I question the validity of the headline. In the article it even admits the problem in determining if a driver is intoxicated on marijuana, and under current law levels required for a DWI varies wildly by state. The problem is that it stays in people's system for thirty days so someone could have ingested some up to four weeks earlier and in no way be intoxicated...yet would still come up positive in a toxicology report.
The article continues withMarijuana impairs driving in much the same way that alcohol does, explained Jonathan Adkins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. It impairs judgment, affects vision and makes a person more distractible and more likely to take risks while driving.
Just a flat out lie, Alcohol and Marijuana have completely different short term effects. This is one study results not repeated anywhere, There are dozens if not hundreds that say the opposite; one study by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows that drivers with THC in their systems have accident responsibility rates lower than those of drug-free drivers.
The website 4AutoinsuranceQuote.com put out a 2012 press release on the study, which “looks at statistics regarding accidents, traffic violations, and insurance prices,” and “seeks to dispel the thought that ‘driving while stoned’ is dangerous.”
One study indicated that traffic related fatalities fell by up to nine percent in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Entitled “Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption,” the study, conducted in November 2011, found increased cannabis use by adults decreased alcohol related traffic deaths in those states.
[Huffington Post] the Top 10 reasons marijuana users are safer drivers are as follows: 1. Drivers who had been using marijuana were found to drive slower, according to a 1983 NHTSA study. 2. Marijuana users were able to drive straight and didn’t have trouble staying in their own lanes, according to a 1993 NHTSA study done in the Netherlands. The same study concluded that marijuana had very little effect on overall driving ability.The author of the post has changed the words as too support her opinion. A close read to the article link provided shows inconsistency, with the quoted article above, for instance the study was done by Mailman School of Public Health then quotes Dr. Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Then lets throw in:
3. Drivers who had smoked marijuana were less likely to try to pass other cars and were more likely to drive at a steady speed, according to a University of Adelaide study done in Australia. The study showed no danger from marijuana and driving unless the drivers had also been using alcohol. 4. Drivers high on marijuana are less likely to drive recklessly, according to a study done in the United Kingdom in 2000 by the UK Transport Research Lab. The study was actually undertaken to prove that pot impairs driving, but instead it showed the opposite — that stoned drivers were actually safer than many other drivers on the road. 5. States that allow medical marijuana see a reduction in highway fatalities; for instance, Colorado and Montana have had a nine percent drop in traffic deaths and a five percent drop in beer sales. 6. Low doses of marijuana were found to have little affect on the ability to drive a car in a Canadian study in 2002. These drivers were found to be in much fewer car crashes than alcohol users. 7. Most marijuana smokers have fewer crashes because they tend to stay home instead of driving. 8. Marijuana smokers are thought to be more sober drivers; traffic information from 13 of the states where medical cannabis is legal showed that these drivers are actually safer and more careful than many other drivers on the road. These studies were conducted by the University of Colorado and Montana State University, exploring the relationship between legal medical marijuana and deaths in traffic accidents. 9. Multiple studies show that marijuana smokers are less likely to be risk takers than those who use alcohol; the studies showed that marijuana use calmed them down and made them pay more attention. 10. Pot smoking drivers were shown to follow other vehicles at safer distances, which made they less likely to cause or have crashes. “Every test seemed to come up with these same results in all of the countries they were done in,”"Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana",and I'll bet 5 out of ten them have alcohol also, and being killed in an accident does not mean it was your fault, Plus they are only using accidents in which a driver died.
because Marijuana can stay in your system for a month or more doesn't mean you are high!!!Sixty to 70% percent of Americans use alcohol... 70% of Americans are on some sort of prescription drugs. Around 38% of Americans admit to trying pot (most of the rest lie) about half of those admit regular use (more than once a week) So on any given day 20% of Americans would fail a drug test for pot. So it follows for statistics to be true that with only 3- 12% of those tested positive for marijuana, that if fact proves marijuana smokers are better drivers because they beat the spread being involved in less than 20%...
So even allowing for overlaps, it's not hard to imagine that on any given almost everybody would fail a drug and alcohol test
The article goes on to say:
that alcohol and Marijuana together doubles the rate, which mean a percentage of the drivers had both, (conveniently left out) using 40% as the baseline for alcohol related, then says "marijuana related has gone from four percent to 12%" which statistically speaking and says that drugged driving is 28% (which would include Marijuana)allowing for the overlaps, it just becomes statistical BS, especially when there are no other studies anywhere on the internet that come up with anything close to their statistical results...
They then conveniently leave out the statistic of how much of the increase in pot smokers also had alcohol in their systems (I am sure they generated that stat and left it out) why because likely its was 90 - 100 percent and only showed that more drinkers are also smoking pot and if you work out the math they are talking about 900- 2700 people per year, break it down further and you get less than ten people per day involved in fatal accidents with pot in their system and still doesn't prove they were at fault, just that they had smoked pot sometime in the previous month or so... and you can bet the years included were to support the statistics that they wanted, because we all know that statistics are a function of a preconceived notion.
Reading through dozens of other studies the highest number I found was 5.6% contributed to drugged driving and that most accidents were found to be from driving too fast, and sleepiness (falling asleep at the wheel) There are 50- 70 million Pot smokers in the country (depending on who you ask) I believe there are a lot more or legalization wouldn't be happening. I've been a Pothead for 40 years, that is too say, I would have tested positive everyday, every minute except for two times that I quit once six months and once for a year.
I have been hit head on by a drunk driver on the wrong side of the road, I wasn't killed but if I was I would be one of those dead people testing positive for THC, as well as caffeine... In that time I never killed anybody, and I have well over a Million miles driving experience, Saying that smoking pot and drinking at the same time, doesn't prove anything about marijuana, ( which when I was younger I also did plenty of times) I'd like to see those toxicology reports, I would bet the farm that 95% percent of them had caffeine in their systems and 50% had nicotine, why are they not blaming the accident on those drugs?
You can prove impairment from a drug test and all dead people are impaired from driving, as Not one can walk a straight line. Accidents are not murder; Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human, and generally this premeditated state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide (such as manslaughter).
So has has this study really revealed?
That in six states that had a oddly low percentage of drugs found in dead drivers in accidents in which a driver died (setting aside the cause or blame for the accident also not in evidence) comparing 1999 to 2010, (there is no mention of any findings along the way, were they going up down stable) that a driver of one or both of the cars, used marijuana in the past 30 days.
How about we end by watching a video of people smoking pot and driving?
Not going to happen today, the video which showed clearly that people drove fine while stoned has been removed... More on statistics