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Study: Per Se Limits For Drugs Don’T Reduce Traffic Deaths

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DENVER, CO — The imposition of so-called per se drugged driving laws, which create new traffic safety violations for drivers who operate a vehicle with the presence of trace amounts of certain controlled substances and/or their inert metabolites (byproducts) in their blood or urine, do not reduce incidences of traffic deaths, according to a discussion paper made available this week by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany.


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Keep in mind that this is a study done on zero tolerance types of per se limits. I think it stands to reason that a zero tolerance law isn't likely to reduce traffic deaths because the great majority of those convicted under zero tolerance are done so for trace amounts or at least under circumstances where the amount in their system was not enough to cause negative driving effects. I think that most people who are truly under the influence will be charged under a driving while intoxicated or impaired sort of statute and NOT under the zero tolerance statute. For that reason this study is kind of worthless because most deaths as a result of intoxication will be the result of someone who is charged with a greater crime than the zero tolerance crime.


If this study analyzed a per se limit such as our .08 drunk driving per se limit then I think it would have found higher rates of traffic related fatalities. Point being that this study is very limited in what it can tell us. It tells us that a per se limit of a minute amount of a drug doesn't reduce traffic accidents. Somehow I doubt the intent of the legislature was not to reduce traffic related deaths when passing a zero tolerance type of per se law.

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