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More Fatal Car Crashes Are Being Linked to Drug Use

Posted in Car collision on August 6, 2018

According to a new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, more drivers involved in fatal collisions are testing positive to drug use. Some believe using marijuana or opioids make them a better driver.

As the United States is facing an opioid epidemic and the legalization of marijuana, this study raises a big concern for the safety of others on the road. The GHSA also explains the difficulty of fully understanding drugged driving and the problems it’s causing. Not all drivers who test positive for drugs are actually impaired.

Although it’s relatively easy to determine if someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, the simultaneous use of multiple drugs is becoming more common. In 2016, 44% of fatally injured drivers involved in a crash tested positive for drugs. This is up 28% from the average of the last decade. Of the drivers who tested positive in the latest test, 38% were positive for marijuana, 16% were positive for a form of opioid, and 4% tested positive for both. Of all the drivers killed in 2016 that were under the influence of alcohol, 49% were also under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident.

Alcohol-impaired and drug-impaired driving should no longer be considered different topics. Ralph Blackman, the CEO of Responsibility.org, is concerned about the combination of different substances in a driver’s system. New tests need to be created to better determine how much THC is in the system if a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

Many people continue to drive under the influence of marijuana or opioids thinking they are just as good, if not a better driver. Busting this myth will require states to increase their impaired driving campaigns and law enforcement.