Drugged, or drug-impaired, driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as driving under the influence of substances such as cocaine, marijuana, opioids, and includes drugs prescribed by a physician. Often people mix substances, which can change the effects of a drug making them unpredictable. Drug use can slow reaction times, cause drowsiness or dizziness, impact judgment, and increase aggression. This may be demonstrated by a driver weaving in and out of the lane, driving slower or faster speeds than permitted, and/or paying little attention to the road or traffic signals.
How many people drive under the influence of drugs? According to a Drug Use and Health Survey, approximately 12.8 million Americans aged 16 or older self-reported that they drove under the influence of illicit drugs in 2017.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes research about the impact of drug-impaired driving and compares its data to previous years. According to their most recent findings, approximately 20% of surveyed drivers tested positive for potentially impairing drugs. The number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana increased by 48% from 2007 to 2014. Weekend evenings from 10 pm until midnight and from 1 to 3 am show a higher prevalence of drug-impaired driving.
Changes to states’ marijuana legislation coupled with a gap in education have led to misconceptions about the effects of marijuana, including how driving under the influence of marijuana may pose a risk to our roadways. Data shows that driving after smoking cannabis interferes with psychomotor functions and a driver’s ability to multitask. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association reports that 41.1% of the drug-positive, fatally injured drivers were positive for marijuana. Since recreational marijuana was legalized, marijuana-related traffic deaths have increased by 151 %.
Do you have company vehicles? Do you have concerns about your staff driving while drug-impaired? Call us today to talk about your options! Dial 1.800.452.0030 ext. 203