40 percent of drivers killed in 2013 tested positive for drugs: study

Reprints

Washington – Drugged driving is on the rise – nearly matching drunk driving in the number of fatal crashes – according to a recent study from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

The study revealed that 40 percent of drivers killed in crashes in 2013 tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The figure was nearly the same as the percentage of drivers killed in crashes the same year who tested positive for alcohol in their bloodstreams. Researchers gathered the data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

In the report, researchers note that the majority of drugs – including prescription medication – may impair driving-related cognitive functions such as reaction time, distance perception, motor skills and other behaviors. They called for increased awareness about the risks of drugged driving.

“When drug use is combined with alcohol, the risk of a crash is increased dramatically,” Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, said in a press release. “This is why it’s so important to understand the scope of the problem and, more importantly, provide solutions to address it.”