The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) just released a frightening statistic. Results from 2016 say a whopping 44% of fatally injured drivers (with known results) tested positive for drugs.
That’s up from 28% in 2006.
The GHSA report is titled Drug-Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States. Breaking it down farther, the statistics say:
• 38% tested positive for some form of marijuana
• 16% tested positive for opioids
• 4% tested positive for both
What’s most fascinating about the report is the presence of alcohol being lower in fatal collisions than it was a decade ago. This isn’t to say that alcohol still isn’t dangerous or a major cause. However, it dropped from 41% in 2006 to 38% in 2016.
The report author is Dr. Jim Hedlund who is a former senior National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) official. He says the strategies used to address alcohol-related driving needs to now be employed to drugs. There is — however — a problem with that because there is no nationally-accepted method for testing for drug-driving.
Plus — he added — the number of drugs to test for is huge.
“Drugs can impair, and drug-impaired drivers can crash. But it’s impossible to understand the full scope of the drugged driving problem because many drivers who are arrested or involved in crashes, even those who are killed, are not tested for drugs. Drivers who are drug-positive may not necessarily be impaired,” he said.
Here’s another issue — multiple substances:
• In 2016 a staggering 51% of drug-positive fatalities included two or more drugs
• Alcohol is often mixed in with those drugs
• 49% of drivers killed in crashes in 2016 where alcohol was involved also tested positive for drugs
Part of the problem with drug use — says GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins — is the belief that they’re more safe than alcohol. “Too many people operate under the false belief that marijuana or opioids don’t impair their ability to drive, or even that these drugs make them safer drivers. Busting this myth requires states to expand their impaired driving campaigns to include marijuana and opioids along with alcohol to show drivers that impairment is impairment, regardless of substance.”
Source link: Insurance Journal