According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 18-percent of the drivers who died in 2009 had drugs in their systems. Of the approximate 22,000 drivers killed in car crashes last year, 63-percent were tested for drugs and approximately 4,000 turned up positive (There were also another 22,000 non-drivers killed in car crashes last year).
The represents a 5-percent increase from 2005. According to the NHTSA, the drugs recorded in the driver’s system, “…include narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, cannabinoids, phencyclidines (PCPs), anabolic steroids, and inhalants. The groups include both illicit drugs, as well as legally prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medicines.”
Also according to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, “While it’s clear that science and state policies regarding drugs and driving are evolving, one fact is indisputable. If you are taking any drugs that might impair your ability to drive safely, then you need to put common sense and caution to the forefront, and give your keys to someone else. It doesn’t matter if its drugs or alcohol, if you’re impaired, don’t drive.”
The fact that the detection of drug use by car drivers has risen 1-percent per year for the past 5 years is more alarming than it sounds. And since many states don’t test for drugs in deceased drivers or test only a small group of drugs means the numbers could be higher.
Many people still view drug use and addiction as a personal issue where if the problem is serious enough, one goes into rehab. But, innocent people are also at risk when any impaired driver gets behind the wheel of a car.