28 Sep Alcohol and Drugs Common in Fatal Car Crashes
According to a recent study, over half of drivers killed in the U.S. had either alcohol or drugs present in their body during the time of their crash. An article in Reuters showed data from 14 states presented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Researchers found that men driving at nighttime were the most prone to have alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs show up on their toxicology screens immediately following the accident.
The records could not ascertain whether or not there was enough of a particular drug to cause them to act or feel impaired or if prescription medications were improperly used. Co-author of the research, Joanne Brady at Columbia University in New York says there is a need to conduct more testing and to find more consistency within testing.
All that is certain is the amount of times you see the drugs and alcohol in the blood tests of those who were fatally injured, according to Robert Voas with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Maryland. Voas says the data cannot tell you whether any drugs or combinations of drugs were causing the crashes.
Unfortunately, all states do not test for the exact same drugs or have a policy for consistent testing to compare at the times of these fatal crashes. There are many questions regarding how multiple drugs may interact with a driver’s focus on the road.
Of the over 20,000 drivers killed from 2005 to 2009, 57 percent of those tested positive for one drug. This included one in five who showed multiple drugs present in their body at the time the accident occurred.
On toxicology screens, alcohol was the most frequent drug present. Next was marijuana and stimulants that included amphetamines and Adderall. Sixty percent of males killed had either alcohol or drugs present while less than only half of all women did.
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