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Letter of the Day: Don't blame pot

  • This artwork by Donna Grethen relates to marijuana legislation in the U.S.

Pot's not the problem

EDITOR: The last paragraph of Henry Schmid's March 20 letter to the editor reads "the driver causing the accident may be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. Do we really want to legalize marijuana?"

A 2007 case-control study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health reviewed 10 years of U.S. auto-fatality data. Investigators found that drivers with blood alcohol levels of 0.05 percent — a level well below the legal limit for intoxication — were three times as likely to have engaged in unsafe driving activities prior to a fatal crash as compared to individuals who tested positive for marijuana.

A 2005 review of auto accident fatality data from France reported similar results, finding that drivers who tested positive for any amount of alcohol had a four times greater risk of having a fatal accident than did drivers who tested positive for marijuana in their blood. In the latter study, even drivers with low levels of alcohol present in their blood experienced a greater elevated risk as compared to drivers who tested positive for higher concentrations of cannabis.

Both studies noted that overall few traffic accidents appeared to be attributed to driver's operating a vehicle while impaired by cannabis.

The real problem is drivers constantly distracted by their cell phones, egotistically thwarting already existing law barring the use of cell phones while driving.

CRAIG WARREN

Napa


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