Yesterday Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told the Associated Press she opposes marijuana legalization in her state partly because she worries about stoned drivers. “The risk of people using marijuana and driving is very substantial,” she said. A.P. helped Feinstein make her case by citing “a possible example”:
The California Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal weekend collision in Santa Rosa as being related to marijuana use. A woman and her daughter-in-law were killed when a Toyota Camry in which they were riding was rear-ended by a pickup truck. A preliminary CHP investigation determined that the 30-year-old man driving the pickup was impaired by marijuana and reading a text message on his cellphone at the time of the collision.
If this case is evidence in favor of marijuana prohibition, it is also evidence in favor of cellphone prohibition. By the same token, the fact that people die in alcohol-related crashes is evidence in favor of alcohol prohibition. In fact, since alcohol impairs driving ability more dramatically than marijuana does, legalizing pot might actually reduce traffic fatalities, to the extent that more pot smoking is accompanied by less drinking.