A statement by a leading spokesman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in Canada is an excellent example of how little is known about the effects of marijuana on driving, and how little advocacy groups are concerned with the truth.
MADD Says Marijuana is the Leading Cause of Fatal Crashes
In an interview with a local news station in Toronto, MADD-Canada CEO Andrew Murie claimed that marijuana “is the leading cause of fatalities on our roadways.” He did not back up his claim, and he alluded to no sources or studies that support what he said.
Studies Contradict Bold Statement
There are, however, several studies that suggest that driving while under the influence of marijuana is, at worst, only marginally less safe than regular driving.
One was done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), and compared the number of insurance claims for car crashes in Colorado, Oregon, and our own state of Washington both before and after marijuana was legalized. Control states were also included in the study. The result: an estimated three percent increase in the number of accident claims after recreational marijuana was made legal.
Another study was published in the American Journal of Public Health and compared the number of fatal car crashes in Washington and Colorado before and after legalization. Their study found that the fatality rates in states where recreational marijuana was legal “were not statistically different from those in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization.”
In fact, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its most recent report on motor vehicle fatalities, it never even mentions drugged driving.
Another Advocacy Group Resorts to Scare Tactics
MADD has always taken an incredibly aggressive stance against drunk driving. They have mobilized an immense number of single-issue voters to take down any politician that does not support draconian laws against driving under the influence (DUI), and are behind some of the harshest penalty schemes in the country. To get there, though, they have resorted to scare tactics that are getting more and more outlandish and further from the truth in order to rile up their base and urge more donations.
The result, though, is a toxic discourse about DUI law that cares little for reason or data and relies on nothing but volume and rhetorical flair to score “points.”
Steve Karimi Fights for Those Accused of DUI in Seattle
Steve Karimi is a DUI defense lawyer who represents those accused of drunk or drugged driving in or near the city of Seattle. Every day, he sees the social stigmatization and the political pressure that these misleading and inaccurate statements create, and he sees how innocent people who made a bad choice struggle to cope with the unfair repercussions of their actions.
If you have been arrested and accused of DUI in Seattle, Steve Karimi can be your best ally and a strong option in the courtroom. Call his law office at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online for help.