On Tuesday, AAA’s safety foundation released a report concerning cannabis impairment and driving, which proved blood testing drivers for THC holds no scientific validity and should be abandoned. But a second part of the report found that — strictly statistically speaking — car crashes involving drivers who had consumed cannabis were on the rise.
In fact, the number of people involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for cannabis did rise — a statistical doubling — but several caveats that should have also been reported by the mainstream press were flatly ignored.
First, and of no small importance, cannabis isn’t even close to the leading cause of fatal crashes. In fact, when it comes to deadly accidents where the driver tested positive for cannabis, “most” had also consumed alcohol or other drugs.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, of 592 drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013, 38 tested positive for cannabis. In the following year, of 619 deadly crashes, the number testing positive for cannabis jumped to 75. However, as Staci Hoff, Research Director for WTSC, explained:
“Most of these drivers, these 75 drivers, also had alcohol or other drugs” in their systems. Over a five-year period, just 1.8 percent of fatal crashes involved drivers who tested positive only for cannabis.
“So, in our study, we looked at all five years of date, 2010 to 2014,” Hoff continued, “and there were never 3,000 drivers involved in these fatal crashes during that time period. Only 56 of them had THC and only THC, nothing else.”
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