Drugged driving now bigger highway threat than drunk driving

Drugged driving now bigger highway threat than drunk driving

"As states across the country continue to struggle with drug-impaired driving, it's critical that we help them understand the current landscape and provide examples of best practices so they can craft the most effective countermeasures", Mr. Adkins said.

"In 2005, only 28 percent of drivers tested positive for drugs after dying in a crash".

Traffic fatalities are also on the rise, which has been attributed to an improved economy and more distracted and drugged driving.

Identifying drivers impaired by drugs is more complicated and takes longer than identifying drunk drivers, according to the report.

For the first time, data shows that drivers killed in vehicle crashes in the United States were more likely to be on drugs than drunk, according a new report.

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"Officers need to know more than they do for alcohol how to suspect drug impairment, and know that it can exhibit itself in different ways", Hedlund said in an interview.

Fewer drunk drivers were killed in automobile accidents in 2015 than drivers who tested positive for drugs, the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility said in Wednesday's report. Many police officers are not trained to identify drugged drivers. The report recommends that states develop education campaigns, which can include discussing drugged driving in driver education classes, and informing physicians and pharmacists about risks from driving on prescription drugs. Marijuana can increase crash risk by 22 to 36 percent, according to studies cited in the report.

Hedlund said testing for alcohol is pretty straightforward - an officer looks for signs of drinking and can confirm the presence of alcohol with a breath test. For three hours Wednesday, experts came together to address some of the challenges of drugged driving in our state, like tracking incidents, finding resources and making sure people are informed.

And here's the rub: Drugged driving, whether the motorist is high on marijuana or opiods, is hard to confirm because there are no roadside tests as there is for drunk driving detection.

"Years ago, the common phrase at a party at the end of the night was, 'How about one for the road?'" Mr. Hedlund said. Pennsylvania recently tested all DUI blood samples and found 50 percent also contained drugs, he said, and drugged driving was a primary topic at the annual Pennsylvania Highway Safety Conference in State College recently.

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