A few weeks ago, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a new study: Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Do.
This new report from the organization, summarizes the current state of knowledge of drug use by drivers on America’s roadway and identifies actions that states and other stakeholders can take to detect and prevent drug-impaired driving.
From the study, we see some interesting data related to drugged driving in fatal crashes, compared to drinking and driving.
The best data come from fatal crashes because drivers in fatal crashes, especially fatally-injured drivers, are tested for drugs more frequently than drivers in non-fatal crashes. In 2013 nationwide, 62.6% of the fatally-injured drivers were tested for drugs. Of those tested, no drugs were detected in 57.3%, a drug in the FARS list was found in 30.3%, some other drug in 7.7%, and test results were unknown for 4.6%. Over one-third – 34.7% – of the identified drugs were marijuana in some form, followed by amphetamine at 9.7% (FARS, 2015).
Alcohol was present at similar levels. In 2013, 74.3% of the fatally-injured drivers were tested for alcohol. No alcohol was detected in 57.6% of those tested, alcohol at a positive BAC in 38.4%, and test results were unknown for 3.9%.
Their study concludes some disturbing trends of drivers using drugs while driving.
The study raises two big concerns:
1. Many drivers do not understand how various drugs can increase crash risk.
2. Many officers are not trained to identify the signs and symptoms of drivings impaired by drugs.
Those two concerns, combined, is a major issue for the Governors Highway Safety Association. To read the complete report PDF, simply click here.
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