Let me tell you about two men in the news recently. One drove under the influence and crashed into a car full of teenagers who died in the flaming wreck. The other ran low on the medical marijuana he used for his temper, snapped, and killed five people in a fit of anger.
They are the same person, but the Vermont Attorney General transformed the first into the second.
The newspaper account makes the reclassification sound like a sleazy lawyer trick by a lying politician who wants to deny the public its legal right to know, but it’s important for statistics and could save you a ticket next time you go skiing.
Some facts are apparently undisputed: five teenagers died in a car crash, the driver of the other car was at fault, and he had smoked marijuana in the recent past.
Under Vermont law, driving with any measurable amount of drugs in the system is DUI. Five people dead in a drugged driving accident make a big impact on statistics in a small state, adding about five percentage points to the fraction of road deaths that are drug- or alcohol-related. Those points influence federal grants for roadblocks and speed traps.
But five people murdered by a weapon that happens to be a car go into a much different statistical category. They have nothing to do with road safety. They do not show up in highway safety statistics any more than sniper victims. This case would go into the “men accused of domestic violence go on to commit murder” bin.
I suspect when it’s all over the deaths will turn back into reportable accidents.
The system needs DUI deaths. I’m not saying NHTSA bureaucrats are going into bars spiking drinks, but they need deaths classified as “preventable by federal intervention”. Federal intervention is their job.
A random murder does not fit the agenda.
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