Smoke pot if you want-but not when you're driving a van full of kids

Summary: A van transporting children for a child care center exits the roadway, impacting a light standard and bridge abutment. The crash is fatal for the driver and four children. Two children are seriously injured. Toxicological tests on the driver are positive for THC.

The full NTSB report is here in .pdf

What really gets me upset is what the Board learned via interviews with others:

*“According to the driver’s cousin, the driver was a regular marijuana user who often smoked before retiring for a nap between his morning and afternoon runs.”

“Several parents of children who rode in the van told investigators that they had complained to the child care director that the driver had been smoking marijuana in the van in the children’s presence.”

“Interviews conducted by MPD (Memphis Police Department) and Safety Board investigators indicated that the driver’s marijuana use was well known to friends and coworkers, who nicknamed him “Smoky”.”* :eek:

To restate, I’m personally not condemning his use of pot, per se. I put it in the same class as booze-do it if you want to, but show up straight for work. No point in beating that horse-the driver is dead.

If the statements above are valid, and I’ve no reason to believe the NTSB would make up shit to amuse readers, the other staff members and management of the child care center are the focus of this post-WTF were they thinking in allowing a known stoner to run around with a van of kids?

Finally-the parents have a measure of blame, here. You can bet your ass that if littlecats told me a stoner was driving her bus to school, the driver, center director, State Police, and I would be having a square dance, and she wouldn’t be back on the bus until I was satisfied with the resolution.

Why is common sense so un-fucking common anymore? :rolleyes:

That’s just awful. But…

Sorry, I’ve read some of the PDF, but there’s too many pages to read, so sorry if I didn’t see it.

Who exactly is to blame here? Besides the driver, did the School, center director, or State Police know that he smoked regularly and drove the kids around?

:smack: Okay, so maybe they did. That PDF still is big though.

Is there any proof that the pot caused the accident. Just because the guy crashed doesn’t mean it was because of the pot. A lot of studies show that pot does not impair driving- especially by habitual users.

Having said that, it was still ungodly stupid and unprofessional of the guy simply to toke up in front of the kids at all, even if he hadn’t been driving.

I can’t believe the child care center didn’t fire him after the first complaint. I’ve worked at child care centers and summer day camps. I’ve driven vans full of kids on field trips. If I’d have so much as smoked a cigarette while driving the van I would have been fired on the spot. How does a guy smoke weed while driving kids and keep his job?

This thing has major lawsuit written all over it. If the driver had lived he’d probably be facing charges of negligent homicide. The fact the the child care center didn’t fire him probably makes the liable as hell.

(BTW, did anyone else think of Otto, the school bus driver on the Simpsons when reading the OP?)

“…based on the concentration of THC and THC-COOH in the driver’s blood, the estimated time of marijuana consumption was anywhere from 13 minutes to 3 hours before the accident. Since THC begins to metabolize almost immediately after use, the presence of THC in the driver’s blood indicated that the hallucinogenic compound of marijuana had not completely metabolized and was still influencing the driver’s performance.”

As to your claim that studies have shown a lack of motor skills among habitual users: cite?

Someone who is a regular drinker can likely do an adequate job of operating a motor vehicle while they have a BAC of .06 or more, but they still meet the legal definition of impairment, and shouldn’t be transporting kids.

That should have read “lack of motor skill impairment among habitual users”

And I’m not smoking!

First of all, let me say, this guy has NO business driving kids around while high. None. Nor do I reccommend or condone driving while high.

I smoke pot occasionally, and won’t do it around my fiance’s kids, or any other kids, period. They have no idea I smoke occasionally, and will not until they’re adults, when they’re old enough to make their own choices.
As for a cite:

Also, the NHTSA had a report a couple years back. Here’s a link to a repost of the report (there are bracketed notes interjected in some places in the report by the author of the website).