Drugged Driving: A Growing Issue

Drugged Driving: A Growing Issue

Drugged Driving: A Growing Issue

The comprehensive look at drugged driving included info from 30 new research studies, as well as updated crash figures, and new state laws and prevention programs - all aimed at helping states establish best practices and craft countermeasures, GHSA stated.

Jefferson County Sheriff Deputy Kevin Schwindt tests a driver, whose face is illuminated by police auto lights, to see if he is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, at a mobile Driving Under the Influence (DUI) checkpoint in Golden, Colorado, U.S. on April 12, 2008. "The new statistics mirror what the public is already feeling which is the dire threat to their safety posed by drugged driving".

James Hedlund, a private consultant from Ithaca, N.Y., updated a study he did in 2014 and found that in 2015, for the first time, more drivers who were tested after fatal crashes had drugs in their system (41.7 percent) than had alcohol (37.3 percent).

A survey from AAA shows a majority of OH drivers fear drugged drivers more thank drunk drivers. That could created a sampling error if those tested were more likely than other fatalities to have drugs present in their system.

The Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, national nonprofit safety groups, reported that 43 percent of fatally injured drivers with known test results tested positive for drugs, while 38 percent tested positive for alcohol. "Drug impairment has different signs and symptoms - think of the difference between uppers and downers". It goes on to say police may have a harder time identifying those drugged drivers.

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Driving under the influence of legal and illegal drugs is causing the same concern for motorists today that drunken driving caused 40 years ago and should generate the same response. Marijuana-related traffic deaths in Colorado increased 48 percent after the state legalized recreational use of the drug, according to the study. Marijuana is not metabolized in the system in the same way as alcohol, so while a person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher is considered too drunk to drive, it is not possible to say the same thing absent other evidence about a person testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana.

Roadside screenings for drugs that use saliva are being tested, and tests that use breath are being developed, Hedlund said.

"Getting better data will help everyone", Hedlund said.

MI is addressing that problem under a drugged driving pilot program signed into law by governor Snyder a year ago.

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