Drug use among fatally injured drivers increasing: report

Drug use by drivers involved in fatal crashes increased between 2005 and 2009, according to a new report (.pdf file) released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Findings from the first-ever analysis of drug involvement among drivers in fatal crashes show nationwide in 2009, 63 percent of fatally injured drivers were tested for the presence of drugs. Overall, 3,952 fatally injured drivers tested positive for drug involvement -- 18 percent of all fatally injured drivers and 33 percent of those with known drug test results.

Researchers concluded that because drug test results are unavailable for a large portion of fatally injured drivers, questions remain regarding the drug involvement of those not tested or tested with unknown results. "Drug involvement" meant drugs were found in the driver's system, and drug presence includes both illegal substances as well as over-the-counter and prescription medications.

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