Pubdate: Sun, 24 Jun 2007
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Company
Author: Brian C. Bennett


Oh, boy, another supposed "epidemic" associated with drug use ["The
Drugged Driving Epidemic; Why the Mayhem at a Southeast Festival
Wasn't the Fluke You Might Think It Was," Close to Home, June 17].

To truly understand what's going on with regard to the impact of
"drugged driving," it would be wise to look at the data on traffic
crashes. I am a former intelligence analyst who does volunteer
statistical research and analysis for the organization Law Enforcement
Against Prohibition. The simple reality is that while the rates of use
for intoxicating drugs other than alcohol (both illegal drugs and
legal pharmaceuticals) have indeed increased in recent decades,
curiously enough, the accident rates on America's roads have been in
constant decline.

Indeed, although there are also more drivers and more vehicles, fatal
crashes have remained at 0.6 percent of accidents since 1988. During
that period, the overall number of crashes declined by 11 percent.

Ironically, this decrease has occurred in consonance with increased
use of drugs other than alcohol. It would appear that although more
people than ever are driving while "under the influence," they are
nowhere near as incapacitated as they are when alcohol is involved.


North Garden, Va.
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