Drugged Driving Now Responsible For More Car Accident Fatalities Than Drinking

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Drugged Driving Now Responsible For More Car Accident Fatalities Than Drinking

A new update to report published by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveals that for the first time, drugged drivers are more likely to be involved in deadly car crashes than drunk drivers.

The report found that 43% of drivers involved in deadly accidents tested positive for a drug (legal or illegal) compared to 37% who tested positive for alcohol. Also, more than a third of drivers who died in accidents tested positive for marijuana, and more than 9% tested positive for amphetamines.

According to FAAR’s website, the organization is non-profit and funded by a group of America’s leading alcohol distillers, including Bacardi U.S.A, Constellation Brands, Beam, Inc., Brown-Forman, Constellation Brands, Inc., DIAGEO, Hood River Distillers, Inc., and Pernod Ricard USA. Their mission to fight against underage drinking and drunk driving.

The study was based on data culled from reports made to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and attempted to include any substance that could result in impaired driving, including over-the-counter medication.

The report also offers information about substances and the effect they can have on a driver.

Five states will share a $100,000 grant in 2017 from FAAR, including Illinois, Montana, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The money will go to drug recognition training and more advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement programs.

The report also encourages states to implement a task force, such as California’s Driving Under the Influence Advisory Group which discusses issues relevant to impaired driving and offers insight on policy issues.

More data on drugged driving and drunk driving will likely become available as more states improve on data collection during deadly car accident investigations. In the meantime, however, the report recommended that police agencies focus on officer education and roadside testing to ensure drivers are not substance-impaired.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

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