Drugs and Drivers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported  that post-mortem testing has demonstrated an increase in the level of drug involvement among fatally injured drivers over a five-year period from 2005 to 2009.

According to data compiled by NHTSA, 63 percent of the 21,798 drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 were tested for drugs. Of these, 3,952 tested positive for drug involvement, representing 18 percent of the total for that year. The report also showed drug use reported by the states among fatally injured drivers increasing from 13 percent in 2005, to 15 percent in 2006, 16 percent in 2007, and 18 percent in 2008.  Drug involvement does not mean the driver was impaired or that drug use was the cause of the crash.

The drug data  was collected by NHTSA as part of its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and included information collected from the states under three broad categories: whether the driver was tested, the type of test conducted, and the test results. The types of drugs recorded in FARS 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.

The abuse of drugs, including alcohol,  injures and kills many people every day on our highways, in our workplaces, and in our homes.  Illegal drugs are part of the problem, but abuse of prescription drugs also contributes to deaths and injuries on a daily basis.  Do your part to not to contribute to this problem by consuming alcohol responsibly, avoiding the use of illegal drugs, and using prescription drugs only as ordered by a competent physician.  Remember that many prescribed drugs can alter your ability to drive a vehicle or operate machinery, and thus follow the recommendations of your doctor concerning such matters.

Read the report here,