Researchers with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have achieved a major breakthrough in understanding traffic accidents and fatalities.
This came following a slew of studies attributing increased liklihood of traffic fatalities to a variety of activities: increased chance of death to teenagers driving with other teenagers in car; those who text 27 times as likely to die in crash; marijuana smokers twice as likely to be involved in fatal accident, etc.
According to lead researcher Sindjen Smythe with the NHTSA, “We were getting a ridiculously long list of activities that supposedly caused fatal crashes, to the point that it was starting to seem meaningless.” Smythe said that the last straw, and the moment that led to the new study was learning that “people who liked fried chicken were more likely to die in crashes. That made no sense. This caused us to change our approach and try to find a common thread in all these studies.”
That led to this groundbreaking study which did, in fact, find the common thread. Co-researcher Meghan Ashlington explains: “It wasn’t the love of fried chicken that was the problem, but rather that some idiots would try to eat fried chicken while executing complex driving maneuvers. A smart person, we discovered, simply didn’t do that. Smart people would still get tired, but they’d pull over and take a nap. Idiots wouldn’t. Smart people sometimes texted, but generally only when they was no traffic around them, and if they smoked pot, they understood their own limits.”
Yes, the common thread through all the studies was, in fact, that it was idiots who are much more likely to die in accidents, regardless of the circumstances. Unfortunately, sometimes they also take others with them. And, of course, sometimes accidents are just accidents. But in terms of preventable accidents, idiocy was the undeniably clear common factor.
“This is incredibly important research that could revolutionize traffic enforcement,” according to Ted Jamison with the Department of Justice’s National Policing Initiative. Jamison recommended that states immediately start developing roadside intelligence tests to measure levels of idiocy and get unsafe drivers off the road. “This will be a much more accurate measure of fitness to drive than all the piecemeal systems we have in place today combined,” said Jamison.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has been focusing a lot of their efforts pushing for per se standards for cannabis and driving. When asked for their reaction to this new study and how it might affect their policy approach, they responded that they had read the study, but didn’t understand it.