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Marijuana is a Chief Factor in the Recent Deaths of Santa Cruz Drivers

The CHP warns that 2011 had no fatalities from alcohol or drugs, but three fatal accidents this March involved marijuana.

Marijuana has played a part in several recent accidents and in more fatalities over the past three years than alcohol, according to the California Highway Patrol's Santa Cruz office.

In 2010, four of seven fatalities were caused by marijuana, according to Officer Sarah Jackson. There were no alcohol or drug-related fatalities in 2011, however there were three in February and March of 2012.

According to a CHP report:

The three-vehicle collision on Highway 129 on the morning of February 10th was caused by a young woman under the influence of marijuana.  The young woman who caused the collision did not survive and another was seriously injured.

A young San Lorenzo Valley man lost his life in the twilight hours of March 14th when his truck ran off the edge of Graham Hill Road and struck a tree.  He was under the combined influence of alcohol and marijuana.

Just after midnight on March 18th, a 35 year old man lost control of his vehicle and collided with a tree on Highway 1 at State Park Drive.  He was under the combined influence of alcohol and marijuana.

“These collisions are particularly tragic," said CHP Commander Matt Olson. "They each cut short the lives of young people with so much ahead of them and left behind devastated families.  Sadly, these collisions were completely avoidable.  Our hearts go out to their families and we are doing everything we can to prevent this from happening to others.” 

Statewide, the CHP said, 30 percent of all fatal accidents are caused by drivers under the influence of drugs.

The CHP passed out this warning:

CHP asks the community of Santa Cruz to please be aware of the impairing effects of marijuana.  Whether it is illicitly or legally obtained, marijuana has a profoundly negative effect on the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. 

Prescription drugs and other illegal drugs also impair drivers.  Everyone knows – or should know by now - that drinking and driving is dangerous, but drug use is on the rise and is just as dangerous behind the wheel.  Help us spread awareness and save lives.

TMay April 18, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Michael Savage who has a PHD in Nutritional Ethnomedicine from U Cal Berkeley says that marijuana is very dangerous precisely because people underestimate it. He also said marijuana smoke has carcinogens and is harmful. He made fun of people who eat organic for their health and then smoke marijuana as people who don't know how to take care of their health.
David Jay Brown April 18, 2012 at 09:47 PM
While, of course, no one should ever drive while intoxicated from anything, I suspect that Sarah Jackson is spreading misinformation here. There is no way to tell from an autopsy if someone was intoxicated on marijuana at the time of death, and the DMV's own studies with cannabis show that it actually causes most people to drive more cautiously when they're high. Also, studies demonstrate that experienced cannabis drivers show little impairment compared to alcohol, and that people will generally compensate for any impairment caused by cannabis by driving more slowly. As other people have pointed out above, in the three cases summarized in the article, two of the people were also using alcohol--which seriously impairs driving--and, unlike alcohol, there is no way to determine if someone was actually under the influence of marijuana when they died--so the title of this article, and Sarah Jackson's quotes, are more than misleading. We don't even know if cannabis played a role in these deaths at all, let alone be a "chief factor."
John Cohen April 20, 2012 at 02:29 AM
What about DUI drivers on Meth? They are certainly more dangerous than DUI drivers on marijuana.
Kevin_Hunt April 20, 2012 at 02:58 AM
What does Michael Savage say about people that eat organic marijuana?
Brian April 20, 2012 at 05:30 AM
then why do fighter pilots and race car drivers love adderal to go up and valium to come down, most meth heads are excellent drivers while high, its when they come down that you have to worry street drugs are overly potent and poisoned with petro chemicals. To compare marijuana with meth or alcohol shows just how retarded and uneducated some people are. talk is cheap

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