Drugged Driving Causes More Fatal Car Accidents than Drunk Driving, New Study Reports

Drugged Driving Causes More Fatal Car Accidents than Drunk Driving, New Study Reports

While drunk driving has been declining in recent years, there’s a new, complex issue threatening the driving public: drugged driving. This is according to a new report, Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States, 2017, compiled by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

Specifically, this report reveals that:

  • About 43 percent of drivers who were killed in deadly auto wrecks1 tested positive for drugs in their systems. In contrast, approximately 38 percent of drivers who were fatally injured in car crashes tested positive for having alcohol in their systems.
  • The drug most frequently detected was marijuana, which was found in nearly 37 percent of drivers who tested positive for drugs.
  • The next most frequently detected drug was amphetamines, which was found in just over 9 percent of motorists.

3 Reasons Drugged Driving Is a Bigger Problem than Drunk Driving

The surge in drugged driving is clearly a major problem. So too, however is the fact that drugged driving is more complicated to address than drunk driving. Here’s why, says the GHSA:

  1. There are hundreds of different drugs that can have various impacts on drivers – While the effects of alcohol on drivers are widely known, different types of drugs can have a wide range of effects on motorists. This makes it far more difficult for authorities to definitively detect the presence of drugs in drivers’ systems.
  2. There’s no standard roadside test for drugged driving – For alcohol, roadside testing includes field sobriety tests, breathalyzers and blood tests. In contrast, there’s no set of standard testing for drugged driving.
  3. There’s not definitive measure for drug impairment – In every state in the U.S., 0.08 is the legal limit at which a driver is considered to be drunk. There are not currently legal limits for drugs, making it more challenging to definitively determine when someone can be considered to be impaired by drugs.

How to Fight Drugged Driving: Report Recommendations

To combat drugged driving and prevent deadly wrecks, this report makes various recommendations, including:

  • More extensive Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training for law enforcement officers
  • Enhanced public education about the dangers of drugged driving
  • Better data collection efforts across the U.S. to better define the scope and severity of the drugged driving problem.

Summing up the drugged driving problem and the need for ongoing research, Report Author Dr. Jim Hedlund has explained that:

Drugged driving is a complicated issue… The more we can synthesize the latest research and share what’s going on around the country to address drug-impaired driving, the better positioned states will be to prevent it.

Hurt in a Drunk or Drugged Driving Crash? Contact a Middlesex County Car Accident Lawyer at Mayo & Russ

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a drunk or drugged driving wreck (or in any type of traffic collision), contact a Middlesex County car accident lawyer at Mayo & Russ for more information about your options for financial recovery.

For more than 20 years, the trusted attorneys at Mayo & Russ have been dedicated to aggressively advocating the rights of those who have been harmed by negligence. Known for providing superior representation for various personal injury matters, our lawyers have the insight and experience you can count on to bring your case to a successful resolution.

To find out more about our services and how we can help you with your financial recovery, call us at (732) 613-3100 or toll free at (888) MAYO-LAW. You can also email our firm via the drop-down contact form at the top of this page. Initial consultations are free, and we do not charge any legal fees until or unless compensation is secured.

From offices based in Middlesex County, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to people through New Jersey, as well as nationwide.


1: Data analyzed was for 2015, the most recent year for which complete data is available.