Evidence continues to pour in about the increase in drug use by drivers.
Drug tests of car drivers killed in crashes in 2016 found more drivers had marijuana, opioids or other substances in their system than a decade ago, a report shows.
The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway-safety offices, found that 44% of drivers who died and were tested had positive results for drugs in 2016, up from 28% in 2006.
By contrast, the percentage of fatally injured drivers who were tested fell slightly. In 2016 37.9 percent of all drivers with known test results were alcohol-positive, compared with 41.0 percent a decade earlier.
Marijuana was the most commonly detected drug; 38 percent of those testing positive had marijuana in their system. Sixteen percent tested positive for opioids. Another 4 percent had marijuana and opioids. (The rest tested positive for other drugs.)
The report calls for a series of actions to combat driving while under the influence of opioids and alcohol, including:
- Adding drug-impaired driving messages to impaired-driving campaigns.
- Training patrol officers to spot impaired drivers and Drug Recognition Experts (remember there is no commonly accepted breath test for drugs other than alcohol).
- Monitoring the development of marijuana breath test instruments.
Reminder: Highway Loss Data Institute research shows that states that legalized recreational marijuana sales see a significant increase in accident rates. And here at Triple-I we have presentations discussing the science of driving while high as well as the disconnect between what people know (don’t ride with a high driver) and what they do (too often they say they will).
Update: A webinar discussing the report will be held on June 5 at 1 p.m. EDT. Register at bit.ly/GHSA-DUIDwebinar.