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Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows

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+27 more 
posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 11:57 AM
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Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows

So many are concerned that with legalization of marijuana, that all of a sudden that there will be dozens of people driving stoned on the highways creating all sorts of accidents and problems. Well this article paints a different reality than the fearmongering that anti-legalization people are painting using things called evidence (a fearmongers worst enemy) to show that this isn't the case.


Since Colorado voters legalized pot in 2012, prohibition supporters have warned that recreational marijuana will lead to a scourge of “drugged divers” on the state’s roads. They often point out that when the state legalized medical marijuana in 2001, there was a surge in drivers found to have smoked pot. They also point to studies showing that in other states that have legalized pot for medical purposes, we’ve seen an increase in the number of drivers testing positive for the drug who were involved in fatal car accidents. The anti-pot group SAM recently pointed out that even before the first legal pot store opened in Washington state, the number of drivers in that state testing positive for pot jumped by a third.


Ok fair enough. But marijuana metabolites stay in your system for anywhere from 2 weeks to a month (or even longer) depending on the frequency of use. Someone could have smoked over the weekend and still test positive for marijuana come the following Thursday. See below.


The problem with these criticisms is that we can test only for the presence of marijuana metabolites, not for inebriation. Metabolites can linger in the body for days after the drug’s effects wear off — sometimes even for weeks. Because we all metabolize drugs differently (and at different times and under different conditions), all that a positive test tells us is that the driver has smoked pot at some point in the past few days or weeks.


So naturally people are concerned. We even have yahoos like below proposing the following laws.


Congress recently held hearings on the matter, complete with dire predictions such as “We are going to have a lot more people stoned on the highway and there will be consequences,” from Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.). Some have called for a zero tolerance policy — if you’re driving with any trace of pot in your system, you’re guilty of a DWI. That would effectively ban anyone who smokes pot from driving for up to a couple of weeks after their last joint, including people who legitimately use the drug for medical reasons.


Yeah I'm sure THAT will go over well. So the article goes on to put together some graphs and charts that highlight car fatalities since legalization in Colorado went into effect, and frankly it paints a rather illuminating picture. I've displayed them below as well as the article author's explanation on how to read the graphs.



As you can see, roadway fatalities this year are down from last year, and down from the 13-year average. Of the seven months so far this year, five months saw a lower fatality figure this year than last, two months saw a slightly higher figure this year, and in one month the two figures were equal. If we add up the total fatalities from January through July, it looks like this:

Here, the “high” bar (pardon the pun) is what you get when you add the worst January since 2002 to the worst February, to the worst March, and so on. The “low” bar is the sum total of the safest January, February, etc., since 2002. What’s notable here is that the totals so far in 2014 are closer to the safest composite year since 2002 than to the average year since 2002. I should also add here that these are total fatalities. If we were to calculate these figures as a rate — say, miles driven per fatality — the drop would be starker, both for this year and since Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2001. While the number of miles Americans drive annually has leveled off nationally since the mid-2000s, the number of total miles traveled continues to go up in Colorado. If we were to measure by rate, then, the state would be at lows unseen in decades.


Yes that's right car fatalities are going down and not by just a little, by a LOT. As a counterpoint there is also this.


Of course, the continuing drop in roadway fatalities, in Colorado and elsewhere, is due to a variety of factors, such as better-built cars and trucks, improved safety features and better road engineering. These figures in and of themselves only indicate that the roads are getting safer; they don’t suggest that pot had anything to do with it. We’re also only seven months in. Maybe these figures will change. Finally, it’s also possible that if it weren’t for legal pot, the 2014 figures would be even lower. There’s no real way to know that. We can only look at the data available. But you can bet that if fatalities were up this year, prohibition supporters would be blaming it on legal marijuana. (Interestingly, though road fatalities have generally been falling in Colorado for a long time, 2013 actually saw a slight increase from 2012. So fatalities are down the year after legalization, after having gone up the year before.)


Bold added by me and you can bet your entire life savings that that statement would be true if fatalities would be up. Though I'm sure that the anti-legalization crowd will ignore this and scream about the falling sky for quite some time, but their cries will be growing softer and softer as more and more people tune them out (and consequently stop repeating their nonsense).



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posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:07 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 


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posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:11 PM
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+27 more 
posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:11 PM
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If people really gave a hoot about intoxicated drivers they would be lobbying for the 're-criminalization of alcohol possession and consumption. They are not.


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posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:17 PM
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originally posted by: 0rkoJoker
If people really gave a hoot about intoxicated drivers they would be lobbying for the 're-criminalization of alcohol possession and consumption. They are not.


That is one hell of a good point. It's really all that's needed when this debate comes up.


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posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:19 PM
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originally posted by: 0rkoJoker
If people really gave a hoot about intoxicated drivers they would be lobbying for the 're-criminalization of alcohol possession and consumption. They are not.


It was tried and it failed.

I say, decriminalise everything, add labels to show the negatives effects and then let people decide if they want some or not.


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posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:20 PM
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I doubt that people that have recently smoked even want to drive. Food would be the #1 concern and nowadays everyone delivers.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:23 PM
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Isn't it a little early in the game to be claiming that marijuana legalization is the cause for fewer highway fatalities? I can't imagine how any data set could be sufficient to support the claim at this point.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:26 PM
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As a person who has driven both high on marijuana and under the influence of alcohol (no I'm not proud of myself) I can honestly say driving high is much easier and like lonweld had mentioned I had no desire to drive remotely fast whereas being drunk I then become much more reckless in terms of driving over the limit. Also I no longer do either, and I am extremely thankfulI I never injured or killed anyone when I did



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:32 PM
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Well from my experience with people who smoke they generally want to just rip a bong and chill out for a few hours or an evening and sleep. Their intentions aren't driving for a while. And people who I know that do drive while somewhat high can do it perfectly fine.

People associate alcohol and smoking weed with negative consequences because that's what has been shoved down peoples throats and into society so much, we are given WORST case scenarios.
Fact of the matter is, this isn't true at all. Obviously if someone is completely baked out of their mind to the point of almost greening out, or completely wasted from drinking alcohol there will be issues, but only a small fraction of people who use these substances get to that point and want to drive (due to poor decisions), the rest just want to smoke some weed or have a few beers, would you honestly think those people can't operate a vehicle?

If you look at all stats for car collisions majority of them are due to sober acts of poor judgement, road rage, or some other form of stupidity, rarely is it an actual accident. And to be honest, I just think it's a coincidence that these stats fit with the current legalization, which further supports that smoking weed doesn't bring upon car pile ups.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:33 PM
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Yeah, when your buzzed, you tend to drive a lot slower. Everything is more interesting, you hate to miss something driving real fast.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:34 PM
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Folks, remember. Just because we can discuss this now it doesn't mean that talk of personal use is allowed.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:38 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 


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posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:40 PM
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. . . . and in an entirely unrelated news story, it now takes up to several hours to drive 15 miles because traffic goes so slowly. The upside?

No-one really minds. . . . .



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:40 PM
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a reply to: intrepid




Folks, remember. Just because we can discuss this now it doesn't mean that talk of personal use is allowed.


After I post, I see your post. Sorry.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:42 PM
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originally posted by: intrepid
Folks, remember. Just because we can discuss this now it doesn't mean that talk of personal use is allowed.


Sorry about that, I did however mention I don't do either anymore, and just to add it has been quite a while since I have, but I understand just in case we are being monitored by the good ol' eyes in the sky



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:43 PM
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a reply to: intrepid




I doubt that people that have recently smoked even want to drive. Food would be the #1 concern and nowadays everyone delivers.


Yes, but sometimes that Wendy's double stack is the only thing that helps the munchies, and sadly enough they won't deliver...I know I have tried on numerous occasions to get them to.

And if someone delivers they expect a tip and, well you just don't always have that tip money...less for other things.


Like drinks...
edit on 5-8-2014 by tsurfer2000h because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:45 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:45 PM
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a reply to: intrepid




Folks, remember. Just because we can discuss this now it doesn't mean that talk of personal use is allowed.


And well understood.



posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 12:47 PM
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a reply to: yourmaker




The only thing dangerous about driving while stoned is getting pulled over by the cops


That's because your only doing 10 mph in a 35 mph zone. It's funny when they can walk next to you while pulling you over.





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