Drivers under the influence in more than half of fatal crashes: study

September 12, 2012

New York – More than 57 percent of drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes between 2005 and 2009 were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both, according to a study conducted by Columbia University.

Researchers examined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the presence of alcohol and drugs in 20,150 drivers within one hour of a fatal crash, the study abstract stated.

Among other findings:

  • Alcohol was present in 40.2 percent of drivers.
  • Cannabinols was the next most common substance, found in 10.5 percent of drivers, followed by stimulants at 9 percent, narcotics at 5.7 percent and depressants at 4 percent.
  • About 20 percent of drivers were found to have two or more substances in their system.

Researchers concluded that the results give weight to expanding routine drug testing of drivers involved in crashes.

The study was published online Aug. 20 in the journal Addiction.