A new report released by the Governors’ Highway Safety Association reveals that drug use by drivers is a significant and growing concern among traffic safety advocates.
This is particularly true as a growing number of states (23) have approved marijuana for medicinal use and four for recreational use, while others have significantly relaxed criminal sanctions against possession. Plus, the rates of prescription drug abuse has increased substantially, considering the number of painkillers dispensed nationally has quadrupled in just the last 16 years. Just from 2007 to 2014, the number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana or illegal drugs rose from 12.4 percent to 15.1 percent.
So while the incidence rate of drunk driving has declined significantly, the rate of drugged driving is climbing. In fact, the percentage of drivers killed in car accidents who tested positive for drugs is 40 percent. That’s about as many as tested positive for alcohol. And a recent annual roadside survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found 22 percent of drivers tested positive for at least one medication or drug. Continue reading →