Liberals across the nation have been lobbying to make marijuana legal for recreational use. They claim it’s no different than alcohol for social and private use. After all, they argue, if a person can legally drink alcohol and get drunk, then why shouldn’t a person be allowed to smoke a joint and get high?
Such warped logic resulted in Colorado passing a law to allow the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. And if recent studies prove true, it will also lead to an increase in the number of traffic fatalities. The study, conducted by the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University strongly suggests that the number of ‘drugged driving’ deaths will increase along with the legalization and popularity of marijuana.
Dr. Guohua Li, co-author of the study and Director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia stated:
“Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana. If this trend continues, in five or six years non-alcohol drugs will overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving.”
The team studied crash statistics from six states from 1999 to 2010. They included all deaths that occurred within an hour of the crash. This gave them 23,500 drivers to look at in their study. During their time period, alcohol contributed to nearly 40% of the fatalities.
In 1999, drugs were involved in 16% of traffic deaths. In 2010 that percentage increased to 28%. Specifically looking at marijuana, its role in traffic deaths went from 4% in 1999 to 12% in 2010.
The combination of alcohol and marijuana drastically increases the chances of contributing to a fatal accident. Li explained:
“If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of the driver who is not under the influence of alcohol. But if the driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, their risk increases to 24 times that of a sober person.”
You would think that anyone with a brain would know the effect that alcohol has on traffic accidents and fatalities and would have considered the effects of marijuana increasing the number of accidents and deaths before legalizing it. Jan Withers, National President of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has considered the issue and commented:
“When it comes to drugged driving versus drunk driving, the substances may be different but the consequences are the same—needless deaths and injuries.”
Jonathan Adkins, Deputy Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association added:
“The public knows about drunk driving, but I don’t think they have awareness of drugged driving, so this is a huge issue. We need to alert the public that if you’ve used any type of substance, you should not get behind the wheel. We need to create that culture where, like drunk driving, it is not acceptable.”
There’s no doubt that the number of innocent people injured and killed in auto accidents will increase as the use of marijuana becomes legal and more popular. More children will never grow up or lose one or both parents due to the legalization of marijuana. Liberals need to realize that when they push for the legalization of marijuana that they are also pushing for an increase in traffic injuries and fatalities.
I wonder if the victim’s families could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the politicians in their state that voted to legalize the use of marijuana? Politicians need to be held accountable for their votes and be willing to accept some responsibility for their actions. People in the real world are usually held accountable for their actions and politicians should be no different. If the executives of a business make a company policy that places their employees in danger and gets one killed, they often face legal consequences, or should.
Before any other state decides to legalize marijuana, they need to see this study and be asked if they want to be held responsible for increased injuries and deaths that result from their vote. Perhaps then and only then will they decide to keep the weed illegal and save lives.