According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on fatalities from 14 states, more than half of U.S. drivers killed in car accidents had alcohol or drugs in their system at the time of the crash. Out of 20,150 fatally injured drivers from 2005 to 2009, 57 percent tested positive for at least one drug substance, while one in five had multiple drugs in their system.
There is a disparity between men and women: 60 percent of men killed while driving had drugs or alcohol in their system, while less than half of women did. Accidents which occurred at night or on the weekend were more likely to have the driver test positive for drugs than on a weekday. Alcohol was the most common drug to show up on the tests, followed by marijuana and stimulants such as Adderall and amphetamines.
This data shows that many drivers are operating vehicles while impaired by drugs and alcohol, taking risks not only with their own lives but he lives of other drivers and pedestrians. According to the NHTSA, in 2010 more than 10,000 traffic fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit — that’s nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities.
The use of drug and alcohol substances contributes to driving and behavior impairment, making the road a more risky place. As always, being an aware and defensive driver is the first step to ensuring that you and your passengers are safe on the road.
Source: CNBC, “Alcohol, drugs common in fatal crashes,” September 6, 2012
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