Drugs Transportation

Drug-impaired drivers 3 times as likely to be in a fatal crash: study

Reprints

New York – A new study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health concluded that drivers who test positive for drugs were 3 times as likely as those who test negative to be involved in a fatal crash.

Researchers compared drug and alcohol test results among randomly selected drivers in a 2007 roadside survey with the results of drivers who were involved in a fatal crash the same year, according to the study abstract. Of the major drug categories studied, depressants such as sleeping pills increased fatal crash risk the most – by 4.83 times – followed by stimulants (3.57), narcotics (3.03) and marijuana (1.83). Researchers also found that drivers who tested positive for both drugs and alcohol were 23.2 times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as drivers who did not test positive for either.

As noted in a university press release, because the same level of a drug has different effects on a person based on his or her physiology, the study’s findings on drug use refer only to positive drug tests and not whether the drug impaired the driver’s performance.

The study is scheduled to be published in the November issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention.