Bad science reporting again

Here’s a great way of looking at how facts get distorted by government and the media.

Remember, on Friday afternoon (putting it out with the trash), NHTSA released their report showing no evidence that marijuana use is statistically significant in increasing crashes.

The report showed that overall those who smoked marijuana were more likely to get in crashes, but only because of the overlap with certain higher-crash-likely demographics (like young males). When you accounted for those factors, it turned out that there was no significant difference in crashes between marijuana users and those who didn’t use.

That’s a powerfully strong outcome of a comprehensive study.

However, the NHTSA not only released that info on a Friday afternoon, but also in conjunction with a separate study that showed that there was a reduction of those getting behind the wheel with alcohol in their system, but an increase in those getting behind the wheel with marijuana or other drugs (other than alcohol) in their system. This is a completely unrelated study that has nothing to do with crashes.

By combining the two studies in one release, and using a lot of weasel-worded statements downplaying the clear results of the crash study, they hoped for this stunningly ridiculous kind of headline:

USA Today Study finds new driving threat from dopers, druggies

The war against drunk driving appears to be making progress, but more motorists are instead using marijuana or prescription drugs then getting behind the wheel, a government study shows.

Another study, also released Friday, showed that marijuana users are more likely to be involved in crashes. But it also points out that marijuana is smoked mostly by young men, the group with the highest propensity for accidents anyway. […]

“The rising prevalence of marijuana and other drugs is a challenge to everyone who is dedicated to saving lives and reducing crashes,” says NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

Fortunately, there were a number of media sources who saw through this and realized that the buried story was the real story here.

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21 Responses to Bad science reporting again

  1. darkcycle says:

    Pretty much par for the course. The fact that Sabet is no longer there doesn’t mean they have run clean out of slippery liars.

    • divadab says:

      Yup – lying propagandists for an utterly failed policy of prohibition.

      Incidentally, Pete, voting buttons not working. At least from firefox.

  2. Servetus says:

    NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind probably has several big guns pointed at him by prohibition lobbyists demanding he render a clear guilty verdict with regard to marijuana’s effect on driving.

    Were Mr. Rosekind to declare marijuana innocent, millions of dollars invested into innovative technologies to detect THC or its metabolites in motorists would disappear like some feathery white wisp of smoke. Dozens of R&D projects and upstart companies would collapse. Former DEA chief Karen Tandy and her pot-detector partnership with Motorola would end up on the bankruptcy table along with Radio Shack. Formerly employed urinalysis testers would find themselves in the unemployment line, relegated to the mean streets, forced to beg for marijuana. Nouveau-poor couples would wind up in divorce courts.

    If a few activists can force the NHTSA to be candid about the alleged drugged driving dangers regarding cannabis, then perhaps we can bid adieu to the big money dreams of tyrants who profit by making the lives of marijuana smokers miserable. It’s the least we can do as good drivers.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I sincerely doubt that were Mr. Rosekind to declare cannabis addled driving to be safe that it would make much difference. Don’t you know that the typical prohibitionist grants credibility to research depending on how closely the headline over the article about that research mirrors their personal bias? Would you like a few very fresh examples of the “reasoning” of the typical sycophant of prohibition? In the comments column under: Feds: No link between pot and car crashes:

      What a total crock of schit.. I’ve known stoners my entire life, these morons have the attention span of gnats. There is NO WAY this study is not biased.
      I’m sure the outcome has everything to do with how much tax money they think they can rake in.
      What next? Crack Cocaine has absolutely no bearing on behavior ?
      Because they’re not looking for it. If anyone injures anyone in my family secondary to a pot-fueled accident, you’ll see a beat down that you would have to pay $54.95 on pay per view.
      @wm97: Google this and get back to me. “More Colorado drivers in fatal crashes positive for pot, study says”
      But as for me if you so much as tickle the Sarah Palin bumper sticker on the back of my three ton 4X$ with a carbon footprint bigger than Godzilla’s
      and I suspect you’re high I will open a can of Whoop-^SS on you that would make Jesus proud.

      Please keep in mind that these people are brain dead idiots.

      • Servetus says:

        Yes, those people are brain dead. They are also knuckle-dragging thugs (notice the threats). Somewhere in their tiny lives, someone they respect has stereotyped the marijuana consumer (AKA stoner) so that Mr. Inbred can feel he’s actually superior to someone. Anyone will do.

        Hierarchical cultures have leaders, so it’s necessary to find and get to the leaders to reprogram the mindlessness of their followers. The leader won’t necessarily be Mr. Rosekind. The drug thugs are taught to hate science, so they can’t possibly change their minds on their own. Cannabis-based phobia (cannaphobia?) works just like inciting genocide. Something as big as a government, fuhrer or guru is required to make it happen.

  3. free radical says:

    Yes! Let’s flood nhtsa with comments, and force then to broadcast the truth once and for all.

    NHTSA Headquarters
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    West Building
    Washington, DC 20590

    Toll-Free: 1-888-327-4236 / Hearing Impaired (TTY): 1-800-424-9153 / Media inquiries: 202-366-9550
    USDOT General Information Main Switchboard (including personnel locator): 202-366-4000 / Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm Eastern, excluding Federal Holidays.

  4. Tony Aroma says:

    Drug Czar Michael Botticelli Supports DC’s Ability To Legalize Marijuana

    This guy needs to be fired. His one and only job is to oppose legalization of any Schedule 1 controlled substance. Yet here he is saying people should be able to decide for themselves. That’s blasphemy! Only the government can decide what’s best for us.

  5. claygooding says:

    Voting is messed up on google gold also.

    I have been hitting the articles where just the report from NHTSA study was surfacing and strangely enough the usual cadre of naysayers were not responding to taunts from comments section something to the effect of ” we told you so”

  6. claygooding says:

    CT lawmakers propose recreational marijuana legalization

    Connecticut’s state legislature decriminalized the drug in 2011 and then approved a medical marijuana program just one year later, though the drug was not available to consumers until September 2014.

    Vargas said he believes the state’s current policy on recreational marijuana use is hypocritical, noting that, with the current language, youth in urban areas are unfairly persecuted for possessing small amounts of marijuana. He added that, in light of the state’s looming budget deficit, taxing the drug would boost state revenue as well. “snip”

    The eastern states are not alone,,100 native American tribes are meeting on not whether to get into it but how,,that will be legal marijuana even in states where it remains illegal,,that is like throwing a gauntlet down because no state will make any revenue off tribal marijuana,,or be able to regulate it.

    According to the grapevine July 4th will see marijuana retail outlets,,watching the casinos close to me for any construction that looks like a greenhouse.

  7. Duncan20903 says:


    Despite my disappointment with the latest move by the DC Council vis a vis establishing a regulated retail distribution chain for cannabis I must say I am relieved to be certain that I hadn’t accidentally crossed into a parallel universe. Despite all of the warts there’s still no place like home.
    D.C. Council backs down on marijuana hearing after attorney general warning

  8. DdC says:

    Cannabis Users Are Safer Drivers Than Non-Users, New Study Shows 4.6.12
    In the study, points out that the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving. says, while referencing a study by the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), that driving slower “is arguably a positive thing” and that driving under the influence of marijuana “might even make you a safer driver.” A similar study by the NHTSA shows that drivers with THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in their system have accident responsibility rates below that of drug free drivers.

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  10. Facts are purposely distorted.

    High Price: Thinking about Drugs with a Social Conscience
    Dr Carl Hart

    Well covered here by Dr Hart is exactly why the government and a sheeply press continues to skew the statistics negatively. Well worth watching the whole thing. Almost 50 minutes.

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