Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
DrugWarRant
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch

DrugWarRant.com, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
facebooktwitterrss
April 2010
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Archives

Authors

Drugged driving, even when it's not

I’m feeling even better about the victory with my petition to the ONDCP today.

We’ve known that this push to talk about drugged driving was leading to a policy effort, and today’s post at the drug czar’s “blog” makes it clear where they’re going. Pushing for “per se” drugged driving laws in all the states.

For example, when the substance is an illegal drug, there is no need to require a minimum blood level. There is a minimum level with alcohol because it is a legal substance for adults to use. In contrast, if the drug is already illegal to use and we know it affects judgment and reaction time, it is reasonable to say that driving with any level of that drug in the driver’s system poses an unacceptable risk.

Um, no, that is not reasonable. It’s complete nonsense.

But take a look at the tortured way they have to set it up:

One of these challenges is drugged driving. According to a recent NHTSA study, on an average weekend night, one in six drivers tested positive for licit or illicit drugs. The most commonly detected drugs are marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines. Several recent fatal collisions involving drugged drivers have garnered much attention. Each of us who uses our Nation’s roads is at risk from the danger posed by drugged drivers. This is a disturbing problem.

Disconnected statements with no relevance to each other. And since they can no longer say “impaired” or “under the influence” when talking about the NHTSA study, it makes it much less compelling.

Of course, the real truth is that the NHTSA study has absolutely nothing to do with any trends in drugged driving, but the ONDCP has absolutely nothing else to use!

That’s the news here — the fact that they’re twisting an NHTSA study to fit their agenda, rather than creating an agenda based on actual evidence.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

18 comments to Drugged driving, even when it’s not

  • Orvil Hodgson

    It would be neat to see a wrecks while using a cellphone or texting study.

  • daksya

    A problem with the ONDCP’s logic is that many of the illegal drugs do have accepted medical use, such as (methylated or otherwise) amphetamine or oxycodone; in fact, most controlled substances not in Schedule I. So, like alcohol, some allowance has to be made.

  • Cannabis

    Perhaps the drugged driving issue is one of the reasons why the National Drug Control Strategy is nearly three months overdue. I’d like to see the drafts of it and hear some of the internal wrangling going on.

  • Emma

    Tired, sleep-deprived drivers are one of the biggest threats on the road, but we seldom hear about that.

    Controlled, scientific studies where participants take marijuana and amphetamines and then drive, show relatively little impairment and even some benefits (more cautious on cannabis, more alert on stimulants).

  • claygooding

    When the studies showing that smoked marijuana was an effective and safe medicine by CMCR was published,the study done on marijuana and driving was completed but still being written up. I have been wondering why we never heard anything else about that study.
    It was done with the same driving simulators used to prove impairment on alcohol.
    It is time to shake their tree and see if we can get that report.

  • kaptinemo

    The old order changeth…but too slowly for the bureaucrats…

    Used to be they could lie with impunity, as their charter implied they could, but now with more under-oath hearings threatened by Kucinich, the ONDCP has to play it very close to the vest, this time, and that means outright lies will no longer be acceptable.

    But the bureaucrats within the ONDCP haven’t quite gotten the memo, yet. A point that can be taken up with the next Kucinich Committee hearings…

  • ezrydn

    Plus, they’ve failed to understand basic, scientific terms such as “active” and “inert.” Because you’ve got “metabolites,” trash by any other name, in your system which hold no active ingredient at all, it is considered an “unacceptable risk?” Where are the scientists that should be yelling and screaming that they’re incorrect?

  • Just me

    I see where this is going. Do you suppose they want random drug tests for drivers? Then anyone who test positive for any Illegal drug cant drive? That would mean millions of cannabis consumers are off the road. That would raise another question. If such a thing happened, would you also lose your job? You cant tell me these srewballs havent thought of this. If so, they are doing thier damnedest to ruin peoples lives , further ruin families for nothing. This would impact almost only cannabis consumers.

    I may be just going out on a limb, but sometimes those limbs are stronger than you think and hold weight.

  • permanentilt

    I’m sure the insurance companies would absolutely love that one, if you test positive for any ammount of marijuana after an accident, they don’t pay.

    Instead of breathalizer tests, police carry urinalysis and make you piss on demand, I’m sure the Supreme Court would have no problem.

    Didn’t you guys know? Better to have a million people driving at .07BAC than 1 who smoked a joint 2 weeks ago!

    This seems to me like John Walters’ ridiculous, ineffective, money wasting, ideologically driven campaign to stop kids from using pot. Hopefully it will be his Waterloo.

  • “one in six drivers tested positive for licit or illicit drugs.” emphasis added.

    the only intelligent thing to do is to use the video cameras in the cop cars as evidence of an inability to operate ones vehicle safely. no need for testing for anything — especially given the huge number of completely “legal” substances that carry the warning: “may cause drowsiness, use caution when operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery.

    if you are not operating your vehicle in a safe and controlled manner, then it doesn’t really matter why you can’t — just that you aren’t.

    that’s all that’s needed to arrest someone and get them off the road.

    and of course, there’s always that little graph depicting past year use of any “illicit” drug vs annual traffic accident rates: http://www.briancbennett.com/antidotes/crashes-vs-drug-use.htm

    less talk, more pictures.

  • Just me

    Humm, Gotta agree Brian, More pictures. Makes it very hard for public officials to lie to keep their job.

    Some people respond better with pictures. If I were not an activist and seen that drug use was up abit but accidents were down, well, whos lying? These drug worriers are of a mind set. that they must stop ALL drug use and ALLL accidents. Like there is a such thing as a perfect world.PPffft.

  • Ned

    Once again the whole approach they take is wrong. The only thing that should have criminal sanctions attached is behavior, not substances. Visible poor driving, or visible impairment. The definition of drugged driving should be tied to actions not mere detectable amounts of substances. As for legal proof and thresholds, intelligent ways of creating those can be arrived at for different substances. The one test fits all is absurd. I know that driving on LSD is likely to be unsafe, especially during the period of peak effects, however is a dose of 200 Micrograms even detectable at all once ingested?
    Why are we governed by such small, petty, limited minds?

  • Nic

    Like ezrydn said, do they understand the difference between active and the inert metabolite left in the system after taking a substance. One can test positive for cannabis weeks after using, well after the effects have worn off…(as well as most other drugs that will show up days after use)…The one in six means absolutely nothing in this respect, like most of the prohibs arguments, it has no basis in reality. And did they also include those people on legally prescribed prescription drugs too? To me I don’t really see the difference between someone that took some opiate pain meds prescribed by a doctor and someone that just took heroin. Same stuff. I honestly don’t “get” this study…it’s got to be flawed right from the outset.

    I seemed to remember the drug csar trying to make a big deal out of this “drugged driving” issue during the hearing…he was stumbling for an answer to an intelligent question…and all he could pull out of his butt was akin to “drugs are bad mmmmmkay”…Is this the only argument that the prohibs have left? That all these “drugged drivers” are out to get us? ‘Cause it’s a pretty weak one…I mean bad/inexperienced drivers, drivers on cell phones, and sleepy drivers are a much greater risk than someone who just smoked a joint. Have there ever been any REAL/non-partisan studies done on “drugged driving” by a reputable group, because I’m sure that it’s a minuscule problem…but until there’s some hard numbers it’s gonna be hard to persuade people against the “fear factor” of “OMG, dem druggie drivers are out to git me and mah kids…lock ’em up ‘n throw away dat key!”

  • Nic

    “one in six drivers tested positive for licit or illicit drugs.”

    just saw this…so that answers my questions about licit drugs. ridiculous.

  • ezrydn

    It would just give us MORE of what we’ve already got yet would be taunted under a different banner. They have to be able to establish a level of active amount. Not go “dumpster diving” in our bodies. People need to be watchful of this methodology and ready to counter with the truth. It probably wouldn’t hurt to start that counterpunch now.

  • Just me

    Ned said:Why are we governed by such small, petty, limited minds?

    Because it seems small petty minds only know Money, Power and control. What better place to get all that than being a government official.

    If being in government meant you did it for the country and not money, power or control , very few would even bother.

  • Just me

    Hey look…another job opening!

    Link

  • […] government justify its call for implementing such an inane and discriminatory policy? Simple. By claiming that supposed ‘marijuana and driving menace’ is so prevalent and severe that lawmakers […]