Q How does smoking marijuana compare to driving after having too many beers and being legally drunk? Is pot a major contributor to crashes?

Bill Bryan

A This is worrisome. National highway safety researchers say drugs are playing an increasing role in fatal traffic accidents, accounting for more than 28 percent of road deaths in 2010, which is 16 percent more than in 1999. Marijuana was the main drug involved in the increase, being a factor in 12 percent of fatal crashes in 2010, compared to only 4 percent in 1999.

Police in Colorado say that while traffic fatalities increased 16 percent from 2006 to 2011, deaths involving drivers testing positive for just marijuana increased 114 percent during the same period. A similar survey of 1,300 California drivers pulled over last year on Friday and Saturday nights found that more tested positive for drugs than for alcohol, and that the most prevalent drug detected was marijuana.

Q Gary, I know you are a busy man, and I hesitate to bother you, but there is a sore spot that I drive by every day. The construction area at 280/880 up past Stevens Creek Boulevard is LOADED with graffiti on every available vertical surface -- the movable concrete barriers, the new sound walls, the undersides of the overpasses, the green temporary fences. BIG graffiti and more is added every day.


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Some of the tags were done when the construction began and have remained there these many months. It just gets worse and worse. Can ANYTHING be done to clear the graffiti?

Please, please?

Loui Tucker

Adopt-A-Highway organizer

A I am not too busy to assist one of my favorite Adopt-A-Highway organizers. The VTA has directed the contractor to paint over graffiti on the new concrete panels. This should happen this week.

Q What is the name of the app to get light rail arrival information?

Mark Loundy

A TransLoc.

Q Can you tell me why the city added an extra right-turn lane to the southbound offramp from Highway 85 at Great Oaks? They lengthened the turn lanes, added a more complex signal and changed the timing of the light going straight on Great Oaks. I've been getting off at this exit for 13 years and never once have I noticed a backup to turn right. This seems totally unnecessary to spend the money on improving an offramp with little traffic.

Jeff Powell

San Jose

A It's called looking ahead. This was identified as a need for the development currently under way on the former Hitachi site. These improvements are funded by the developer and will hopefully address the projected increase in traffic due to this development.

Q I've been commuting in a Nissan Leaf electric car for several years. It's amazingly cheap to own and drive, and fun. The only difficult part has been resisting the urge to wave at all the Mercedes and Porsche drivers stuck in the regular lanes, as I sail by in the HOV lane.

Deane Gardner

A I envy any driver these days who can "sail" during the commute.

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, follow him at Twitter.com/mrroadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.