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The Fallacy of the Stoned Driver

The Fallacy of the Stoned Driver

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/21/2014 in Medical Marijuana

There is a fallacy surrounding “stoned drivers” and an increase in traffic fatalities. Some people believe that by legalizing cannabis, we’ll see a spike in road accidents and though there are “reported instances” where drivers involved in fatal crashes had cannabis in their system, doesn’t mean they were high when driving.

What do the stats say?

Over the past two decades, nearly a half a million Americans lost their lives due to traffic fatalities. The vast majority of these accidents occurred by impaired drivers under the influence of alcohol. Jeff Michael of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in relation to Cannabis’ influence on this was that it was hard to say due to the lack of data. He affirmed that the number of cannabis related fatalities on the road was “Probably not zero”.

Yet in relation to alcohol, related deaths Michael had a bit more concrete evidence. He attributed roughly 31% of traffic fatalities directly to alcohol. Roughly, 18%, in 2010 tested positive for psychoactive substances that resulted in fatal accidents. This includes not only cannabis but also every other illicit drug as well as prescription drugs. Many of those in the latter group also tested positive for alcohol and those who didn’t have alcohol in their system didn’t necessarily crash due to the drugs that were in their system.

As you can see, the main culprit of traffic fatalities is alcohol and most probably, cellphones play a major role as well. There is a minimal amount of people who actually cause fatal accidents on drugs mainly because when someone is on heroin, they don’t really want to go for a drive. On cannabis, people have driven for many years now and post legalization in places like Colorado there was a very minimal increase in traffic fatalities.

Why stats on Marijuana can’t be trusted

Cannabis can stay in your system for up to 90 days for heavy smokers meaning you can smoke a joint last week, crash the following week and still test positive for cannabis. Bearing this in mind, how can you trust the statistics in relation to cannabis?

What tests are they conducting that establishes the premise that the person was “high” when driving? The fact of the matter is that there is no possible way to prove it. Thus, anyone claiming that “cannabis will increase road fatalities” do not have substantial evidence to support their claims.


Prohibitionists are grasping for straws when it comes to establishing credibility to their arguments. The fact of the matter is that if they were truly afraid of increased road fatalities, why aren’t they advocating making alcohol illegal?

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