Advertisement
 
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsDrugs

Get drunk, get high, go drive: Welcome to California!

November 19, 2012|By Paul Whitefield
  • An Orange County sheriff's deputy checks a motorist's identification at a sobriety checkpoint in Westminster in 2001.
An Orange County sheriff's deputy checks a motorist's identification… (Allen Schaben / Los Angeles…)

There’s trouble on California’s roads, and I’m not talking just traffic jams.

The Times reported Monday on a statewide survey that “found drugs that can affect driving in one of every seven weekend nighttime motorists -- nearly twice the number of those with alcohol in their system.”

I’m not a math major, but one in seven sounds like it could add up to something, given how crowded our streets and freeways are on the weekends.

Which is what I think this means:

The survey results, announced Monday by the California Office of Traffic Safety, found that 14% of drivers surveyed tested positive for driving under the influence of impairing drugs -- both illegal and prescription -- while 7.3% of drivers tested positive for driving with alcohol in their system.

And the main culprit?  You guessed it:

Of the drugs found in the system of surveyed drivers, marijuana was most prevalent, with 7.4% of drivers having it in their system.

What is it, really, about humans and their love of two things: a good time, and motorized vehicles? Years and years of efforts to combat drunk driving have made some headway, but now we find out we have to start all over again with drugs?

Honestly, someone should make a horror movie out of this. The plot could revolve around pot-smoking ne’er do wells who take to L.A.’s freeways, texting away on their cellphones, their significant others close by, while desperately searching for the last remaining Hostess products.

They could call it “Stone Dead Twinkie Ding Dongs” or something. 

Of course, given this little tidbit from my colleague Richard Verrier the other day -- “The film and television industry in Los Angeles County has lost more than 16,000 jobs since 2004, mostly due to work migrating out of state, a new report revealed” -- I guess it would have to be made in Baton Rouge.

(Sure, OK, Louisiana did a pretty good job standing in for L.A. in that “Battle: Los Angeles” movie.  Then again, maybe if the film folks would’ve stayed in town, they could’ve made a good movie instead of that stinker.)

The bottom line, though, is that we’ve got to find better ways to keep people -- whether under the influence of drugs or alcohol -- off the roads. And people being people, I think technology's the answer.

Yep, I’m talking devices that won’t let you even start your car unless you’re clean and sober.

Sure, it’s a nanny-state solution. But so were seat belts once.

Driving L.A.’s freeways is already enough like Russian Roulette. We shouldn't have to worry about loaded drivers too.

ALSO:

Readers' gift to Romney: Here's why you lost

McManus: The death of the moderate Republican

Why Petraeus strayed -- and it's not what you think

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|