Category Archives: Driving

Mother of woman killed by ‘high’ driver: Brown must stop marijuana banking to save others

Corinne LaMarc-Gasper, Guest columnist  

This column appeared in the Columbus Dispatch last week.

I received the worst news a parent can get nine years ago: my 22-year-old daughter had been killed in a car crash.

Even more heartbreaking was the fact that my daughter’s death could have been avoided if the other driver hadn’t been high on marijuana.

With stories like mine becoming tragically more common, we must reassess and slow the rapid expansion of the marijuana industry.

Last week, the House of Representatives voted to include the deceptively named SAFE Banking Act in the National Defense Authorization Act. Continue reading Mother of woman killed by ‘high’ driver: Brown must stop marijuana banking to save others

Jennifer’s Messengers sounds alarm, supports drugged driving victims

We introduce a new website, Jennifer’s Messengers,  to honor Jennifer, and to bring to light marijuana driving dangers.  A recent study estimated 6800 more deaths per year on our roads if marijuana is federally legalized.

Jennifer’s Messengers takes its name from Jennifer Hrobuchak, who was killed by a driver high on medical marijuana.  It happened on July 24, 2012, and nine years later, the pain is still strong. 

When people say legalizing marijuana is freedom, think of Jennifer and her family. Where’s her freedom? Where’s her mother’s freedom?  Is she free to call her daughter on the phone? Is she free to see that daughter who would be 31 now?  No, that freedom was taken away by a man who was stoned. He violently killed Jennifer and only got a slap on the wrist, spending less than 2 years in jail. Continue reading Jennifer’s Messengers sounds alarm, supports drugged driving victims

Colorado has a drugged driving problem; here’s the data

By Ed Wood, for DUID Victims Voices   Lukas Myers knows this.  The photo shows him being extracted from a car when he was 12 years old after a crash caused by a marijuana-impaired driver.  Most bones in both of Lukas’s legs were broken as well as both wrists.  

For some, stories like this are convincing.  

Others need data.

 So here is a summary of relevant data from 10 sources.

  1. Percent of drivers who admit driving after marijuana use:
    • 18.6% of past-30 day adult marijuana users[1]
    • 54.4%% of past-30 day high school student marijuana users[2]
  2. Toxicology tests of those arrested for DUI[3]:
Drug category Number
Cannabinoids Positive screens 4,205
  THC positive 4,069
Alcohol   3,956
Benzodiazepines   1,774
Methamphetamine and similar   1,090
Cocaine      838
Opioids/opiates      699
Sleeping Zs      115
Barbituates        51

Note: CBI  data from Jul 2019 to Jun 2020 when all DUI blood samples were tested for both alcohol and a full drug panel. 

  1. DUI charges– percent caused by alcohol, THC and polydrug use – 3 year trend [4]
  2016 2018 Percentage change
Alcohol 78.8% 75.3% -4.4%
THC   5.4%   6.4% +18.5%
Polydrug 12.7% 14.5% +14.2%
  1. Traffic deaths per Billion Vehicle Miles Traveled (BVMT):
    • Increased from 9.91 in the five years before marijuana commercialization to 11.26 in the five years after marijuana commercialization[5].
    • Increase of 1.46 deaths/BVMT per year adjusted after marijuana commercialization, compared with a synthetic control[6].
    • Increase of 1.9 deaths/BVMT per year adjusted after marijuana commercialization, compared with states with stable legalization policies[7].
    • Increase of 1.7 deaths/BVMT per year non-adjusted after marijuana commercialization compared with states without legal recreational or medical marijuana[8].

Note: the above reports measured the effect of marijuana commercialization in 2014, not marijuana legalization in 2012.

  1. Traffic fatalities implicating THC:

There were 632 traffic fatalities in 2018.  87% of the drivers in those fatal crashes were tested for drugs.  83 tested positive for THC including 36 at or above 5 ng/ml[9].

  1. Vehicular homicide convictions by drug group in 2016[10]:
Drugs detected Number
Alcohol only 10
THC only 2
Single other drug only 1
Alcohol + THC 2
Alcohol + other drug 1
Alcohol + THC + other drug 2

So what is Colorado doing about the problem?

    Deny the problem exists

In 2020 the Department of Motor Vehicles revised the Driver Handbook to say, “…it is unclear whether cannabis use increases the risk of car crashes.”

    Encourage marijuana use

During the COVID pandemic shutdown, marijuana dealers were classified as an “essential business” by the Governor, permitting them to sell their product while non-essential businesses were required to close.

Home delivery of marijuana was authorized, ostensibly to reduce drugged driving.

At the December 14, 2020 meeting of the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee, the Colorado Department of Public Health an Environment announced that henceforth, “marijuana users” were to be referred to as “cannabis consumers” since the former label is pejorative.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

    Subsidize the marijuana industry

Governor Polis announced a $584,399 tax credit to Canadian marijuana company SLANG Worldwide to expand operations in Colorado.

On a side note that may not be completely unrelated, Governor Polis is rated A+ by NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws.

[1]https://marijuanahealthinfo.colorado.gov/health-data/behavioral-risk-factor-surveillance-system-brfss-data

[2]https://marijuanahealthinfo.colorado.gov/health-data/healthy-kids-colorado-survey-hkcs-data

[3] https://us17.campaign-archive.com/?u=8c19b56d089ffb41f61475b71&id=7e46389639

[4] Rosenthal A, Reed J. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol.  Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice, Office of Research and Statistics, Nov 2020

[5] Federal Highway Administration, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/pubstats/

[6] Santaella-Tenorio J, Wheeler-Martin K, DiMaggio CJ et al. Association of Recreational Cannabis Laws in Colorado and Washington State With Changes in Traffic Fatalities, 2005-2017. JAMA Intern Med. Published Online June 22 (2020)

[7] Aydelotte JD, Mardock AL, Mancheski CA et al. Fatal crashes in the 5 years after recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. Accident Analysis and Prevention 132 (2019) 105284

[8] Kamer RS, Warshafsky S, Kamaer GC. Change in Traffic Fatality Rates in the First 4 States to Legalize Recreational Marijuana. JAMA Intern Med. Published Online June 22 (2020)

[9] Gorman T. The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact. Vol 6 Sept 2019. Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

[10] Bui B, Reed J. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Drugs. A Report Pursuant to HB 17-1315. July 2018. Colorado Division of Criminal Justice

Think ya Know Is it Safe to Drive on Marijuana?

December is Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

* Reader discretion is advised, content describes details of violent crimes.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) helped wake up the country to the dangers of drunk driving. They succeeded in getting laws changed, nationwide in the United States. Now that four more states have legalized marijuana, what about stoned or high driving? Driving under the influence of a drug (DUID), is this something to be concerned about or, is it, as many stoners believe, people drive better while impaired?

A sobering video by PopPot.org

Download this meme to share and educate others!
Continue reading Think ya Know Is it Safe to Drive on Marijuana?