'Tis the season to be raving. At least in the L.A. region, where we'll have two major New Year's Eve massives, Together As One, and White Wonderland, at which to lose it, not to mention several electronic club nights.

But in a timely warning a Melbourne university professor says in just-published research that dropping MDMA and getting behind the wheel produces “erratic and dangerous driving behaviour.”

That's not exactly a new observation:

After all, anti-ecstasy crusader Marcus Gaede told us, “I haven't seen so many car accidents in my life,” after he attended one Together as One party.

As we noted in our cover story one year ago, “Death, Money and Megaraves,” bad accidents seem to be a part of the scene. Five teen ravers died in August, 1999 when they were heading home after a party and the car they were in plummeted off an Angeles National Forest hillside. Authorities said all five had either ecstasy or methamphetamine in their systems.

Cognitive neuroscience professor Con Stough says his research was responding, in part, to “a key Dutch study that found some aspects of driving were improved under the influence of methamphetamine and ecstasy,” according to a statement from his school, Swinburne University of Technology.

So he gave 61 volunteers ecstasy and put them behind the wheel of a driving simulator. Stough:

… There was significantly higher exceeding of the speed limit, increased tail-gating, more skidding, significantly less signalling when changing lanes, and inappropriate braking. The main effect at night was they accelerated too fast …

He concludes that “if you take these drugs you are more likely to end up in hospital with a serious injury, or even die.”

So remember kids, take a cab, find a designated driver, or, dare we suggest, trip at home?

In any case, stay safe.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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