The HIGH Road

I just watched a current affairs, news story with this title… it told the story of a young father who died in a vehicle accident. The driver of the other vehicle (apparently the cause) was convicted of; driving causing death. He received; community service, a disqualification from driving & an order to pay reparations to the family of the dead man.

The convicted driver was NOT charged with driving whilst intoxicated, because whilst there was traces of THC (cannabis) in his blood, police could not conclusively prove he was impaired from the drug, at the time. The convicted driver admits he had used cannabis, the evening before.. but not just prior, as the reporter was alleging. We can all sympathise with this family & understand their feelings of loss, frustration & even anger at the outcomes, BUT the law does state that a person is ‘innocent until proven guilty’. In my experience, in cases with cannabis & other ‘illegal drugs’ there is often a presumption of guilt, just because of the legal status of the drug. I do not condone ‘drugged driving’ or anyone driving whilst intoxicated/impaired from any drug (including alcohol) BUT it does seem that this case, is about highlighting or making an example of this matter, because cannabis is involved. (echoes of ‘reefer madness’ again ?) The reporter questioned the NZ Assoc. Minister of Transport on the issues. He responded by saying that there are clear testable limits for alcohol intoxication.. BUT no such clear tests are available for cannabis. The current tests can only confirm a THC level in the blood, but this is not definitive proof of intoxication. The best they have is a ‘road-side impairment test’ which was not performed on this driver, as he was rushed to hospital, from the scene of the crash.

I have watched a few programs, where driving comparisons were conducted to show the differences, between ‘drink driving’ & ‘stoned/cannabis driving’. In these cases, the people drinking alcohol became aggressive & often drove faster, with increasing recklessness.. whilst the drivers consuming cannabis (under legal authority) often became more cautious & drove slower.

Again, I do not condone anyone driving whilst intoxicated, BUT as with previous posts.. I state; Alcohol & Cannabis do NOT have the same effects on people & their abilities to perform tasks. Its time this was clearly recognised !

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