Monday, February 10, 2014

Well That Was Predictable

Living in the tropics with a monsoon season as I do, I often say "that was as predictable as the afternoon rain".  It applies to a study out of Columbia that fatal car accidents due to marijuana have tripled in the last decade as the acceptance of marijuana use has spread, leading first to legalization for medical uses and then to full legalization.   
"Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana," said co-author Dr. Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia.
Alcohol contributed to about the same percentage of traffic fatalities throughout the decade, about 40 percent, Li said.
"If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of the driver who is not under the influence of alcohol," Li said. "But if the driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, their risk increases to 24 times that of a sober person.
Anyone surprised?  Bueller?  
Have we learned nothing from Cheech and Chong

Thinking about watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan 50 years ago got me thinking about how parts of life have completely reversed as I've aged:
I'm so old I remember when smoking tobacco was fine, but smoking pot was evil. 
I'm so old I remember when Michael Jackson was normal and Prince was the weird one. 


  1. You can avoid much of the risk of drunk driving accidents by avoiding driving Friday and Saturday nights, the happy hour after work and payday nights. It kind of relates to that saying "nothing good ever happens at the 7-11 at 2 am. But pot smokers don't have very predictable schedules except they don't get up early. So avoiding pot caused accidents may be difficult.

  2. I am a little older then Michael Jackson by a few months and I still think he was weird. What 45 or 50 year old man likes boys that much...
    I like reading your columns, but no, I won't hyperlink to any Asian websites.

  3. Cederq - that's kind of my point. Back then, we didn't know about Michael and his little boy problem. He was a bit weird with the plastic surgeries, looking like Diana Ross and all, but in the lovable eccentric way, not the scary-weird.

    Prince was the guy with purple everything and 9 out of 10 songs about sex.

  4. There's a children's video called "Cheech drives the school bus" which caused me to succumb to laughter the first time someone asked me to help her find it at the library; it was difficult to explain to the young mother why I thought that the very premise was troubling.

  5. There are good pragmatic arguments for all kinds of prohibitions.

  6. I would be interested in reading the original study. I would question how the researchers determined if a subject, "tested positive for marijuana." Specifically, if they tested for the particular level of THC in the body.

    As a Probation Officer I routinely test urine for the presence of marijuana. Daily smokers of marijuana can "test positive" for the presence of THC in their urine as long as 4 weeks after they have stopped smoking pot. Certainly long after the drug had any effects on their motor skills and/or cognitive functioning.

  7. Anon 2032 - Interesting point, and the fact on how long THC is detectable is one I've heard before. I don't have the original study, just the news link. I'll see if I can dig it up.