At the Drug Czar’s “blog” the news is that we should suddenly get all concerned and panicked about drugged driving, based on a new roadside survey from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
More than 8% tested positive for marijuana, a clear sign that continued substance abuse education, prevention, and law enforcement efforts are critical to public health and safety. “The troubling data shows us, for the first time, the scope of drugged driving in America, and reinforces the need to reduce drug abuse,” said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Drugged driving, like drunk drivingá puts us all at risk and must be prevented.”
…clear sign … critical … troubling data… puts us all at risk …
Must be some real damning info from the NHTSA, huh?
Not so much.
The NHTSA appears to have a lot more integrity than the Drug Czar. Their research note makes it clear that they don’t want people to do what the Drug Czar just did — make assumptions that aren’t there.
The reader is cautioned that drug presence does not necessarily imply impairment. For many drug types, drug presence can be detected long after any impairment that might affect driving has passed. For example, traces of marijuana can be detected in blood samples several weeks after chronic users stop ingestion. Also, whereas the impairment effects for various concentration levels of alcohol is well understood,
little evidence is available to link concentrations of other drug types to driver performance.
Good for the NHTSA. Maybe they’re actually interested in the truth or the science rather than the political grandstanding.
Update: In a rare move, the AP subtly slams the Drug Czar by placing the NHTSA caution right before his remarks.
… Researchers said the presence of drugs can remain in a driver’s system for weeks, making it difficult to know whether those drivers were impaired.
“This troubling data shows us, for the first time, the scope of drugged driving in America and reinforces the need to reduce drug abuse,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.