Pubdate: Thu, 08 Sep 2005
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005, BC Newspaper Group
Author: Matthew M. Elrod
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


To the Editor,

As a parent, it angers me that MADD Canada have launched an 
anti-drugged-driving campaign behind the slogan "If you're 'high' you can't 
drive." (Drug-impaired drivers a danger to everyone, Sept 3).

While I appreciate the intent of the campaign, the MADD slogan runs 
contrary to scientific evidence. More importantly, the MADD slogan 
contradicts the first-hand experiences of many of the students the campaign 
hopes to influence.

Of particular concern is the MADD assertion that "Drug impairment is as 
dangerous as if you're drinking alcohol."

A recent British study determined that a single glass of wine causes more 
impairment than an entire cannabis cigarette. Distraction, speed and 
aggressive driving habits are greater contributors to traffic accidents 
than alcohol. Cannabis users tend to overestimate their level of impairment 
and compensate by slowing down and driving more defensively. Alcohol has 
the exact opposite effect.

A recent Senate committee came to similar conclusions, stating: "Cannabis 
alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved 
in automobile driving."

The evidence that cannabis users are no more blameworthy for traffic 
accidents than sober drivers is quite robust. Even heavy cannabis users 
rarely attain a level of impairment greater than the legal .08 blood 
alcohol concentration.

As a former professional driver, I am not arguing that anyone should drive 
while impaired by any drug, legal or illegal. I would stress that alcohol 
in combination with cannabis is more impairing than either drug alone.

I also realize that simplistic "just say 'no'" slogans are easier to impart 
than complex realities. However, we should acknowledge that driving under 
the influence of alcohol is much more dangerous than driving under the 
influence of cannabis. Misleading students to believe otherwise is 
dangerously irresponsible.

Matthew M. Elrod,

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MAP posted-by: Elizabeth Wehrman