I found this article at The Auto Channel that, at first, would seem to be in support of the ONDCP’s effort to use driving laws as a back door method to criminalizing internal possession of marijuana.
Oct. 13, 2011: The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) announced today that it has strengthened its drugged driving policy during its recent Annual Meeting, held September 25-28 in Cincinnati. The new policy supports elevating drugged driving to a national priority and calls upon states to undertake several strategies to address this emerging highway safety issue.
Yep. Sounds like the Drug Czar has been doing a good job pushing his agenda.
But here’s where it differs. Kerlikowske has been pushing for states to establish per se laws on drugged driving (criminalizing even the slightest amount in the body whether or not impairment was involved).
In fact the priorities are clear at the ONDCP’s site:
- Encouraging states to adopt Per Se drug impairment laws;
- Collecting further data on drugged driving;
Standard ONDCP stuff: pass laws first, then find research to support those laws.
But check out what the GHSA calls for:
Amend statutes to provide separate and distinct sanctions for alcohol and drug-impaired driving;
Develop standard protocols or procedures for drug testing labs to use in identifying drugs that impair driving;…
That doesn’t sound like a throw-them-all-in-jail approach. And then…
In addition, GHSA is calling for much more drugged driving research. Studies are needed to understand the scope of the problem, to improve field testing of drugged drivers and to set impairments standards. According to Harsha, “Any countermeasures for drugged driving must be based on research and data. The highway safety research community should make this a priority.”
Oh no, the Drug Czar isn’t going to like that.
See, I talk about this drugged driving thing a lot, and it’s not that I’m in favor of people driving impaired. I’m not. But I do think it’s critical that any policies that are used are based on actual data, not the irrelevant statistics that the Drug Czar uses as fear tactics.
And I don’t think that reformers should be afraid to challenge the Drug Czar on his fact-free assertions in this area simply because some people lacking the ability of nuance might view this as being pro-impaired-driving.
The fact is that the drugged driving scare has the potential of diverting attention in a way that could make driving more dangerous. And the main purpose of it appears to be part of the multi-pronged attack on marijuana legalization and medical marijuana (don’t let them have guns, cars, jobs, banks, landlords, unemployment insurance, etc.).