Coroner expresses alarm at finding cannabis implicated in six of nine fatal road crashes

By December 15, 2020 Recent News

NZ Herald 16 December 2020
Family First Comment: “Cannabis was implicated in six of those nine. If that sample is truly representative of the proportion of fatal driving cases where cannabis is implicated, the picture painted must be of real concern.” – Coroner

A coroner has warned of the dangers of driving while impaired by drugs after reviewing nine fatal vehicle crashes and finding cannabis use was implicated in six of them.

The stark warning came in the coronial findings which examined the death of Thomas Jacob Goodman who crashed driving home from a work gathering on the night of November 29 last year.

Goodman, 29, had just started working as a farmhand at a South Canterbury farm when he and some workmates stayed behind for a few drinks.

His employer supplied alcohol and a barbecue was put on.

When Goodman went to leave at around 10pm, his boss asked him if he was “okay to drive” and offered him a bed for the night. He thought he’d had around three to four beers over the evening – six at the most.

Goodman said he was fit to drive and headed home, a short distance away.

His boss texted him around 20 minutes later – as he did with most of his workers – to check that he’d arrived home safely.

But he never got a reply.

Waimate crash victim not wearing seat belt, alcohol and cannabis in system
Stuff 16 December 2020
A Waimate man killed after his vehicle barrel-rolled down a bank had cannabis in his system, was close to five times over the legal alcohol limit, and was not wearing a seatbelt.

When Thomas Jacob Goodman decided to head home after dinner and a few drinks with his colleagues at the Kurow farm where they worked, his boss offered him a bed for the night. He declined.

The next morning, Goodman’s vehicle was discovered at the bottom of a steep slope.

Coroner David Robinson made no recommendations at the conclusion of an inquiry into the 29-year-old man’s death in a crash off Clarkesfield Rd, near Waimate, overnight November 29, 2019.

“Mr Goodman’s death could have been prevented by adhering to basic rules of road safety such as wearing a seatbelt, and obeying the law as it applies to alcohol and drug use,” the coroner said in a decision released on Wednesday.

Tyre marks at the crash scene showed Goodman drifted onto the right side of the road and when trying to correct himself, slid off the left side and barrel-rolled down a 5.5-metre slope.

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